Monday, 15 April 2013

Dante Does Istanbul: Dilara Findikoglu Creates Her Own Wonderland

Today I've been talking Turkey, with a visit to Istanbul INN London, a promotional event to raise awareness of the city's cultural output, from food and drink to architecture and art. But the section that was strongest was definitely the fashion, where hot new designers showed that Istanbul deserves to be noticed on the international scene.

Dilara Findikoglu close-up of Dante's Islamic Inferno t-shirt
[Images taken at Victoria House, London].
A real mixture of fabrics, with a sports luxe feel, clashed with historical prints.

Inspired by Dante's Inferno, Turkish designer Dilara Findikoglu has created a totally unique and unforgettable collection which reminded me slightly of Mary Katrantzou (in her use of intense prints) and Alexander McQueen (in the careful attention to corporeality and also in using antique religious drawings as a basis). 

Dress, body harness and t-shirt by Dilara Findikoglu
 There's something for every type of dresser - from the daring harness wearer to the shift dress lover.
And I still can't get enough of those prints...

The collection is known as 'Dante's Islamic Inferno', due to the repeated references to Islamic architecture, such as beautiful glass or tile patterns, but also lettering in the prints. Other recurring motifs are as diverse as skulls, interlocking hands and palm trees, as well as the occasional anatomical heart and a miniature Medusa painting. 

Prints including Islamic text, palm trees and skulls, by Dilara Findikoglu
 You just know this collection would look amazing dressed up or down. Or just styled in a photo shoot in an abandoned warehouse.

Dilara studied fashion at Central St. Martins College in London and has also been a stylist and fashion editor for several magazines, so she's got a strong creative background, but she's also incredibly young (yep, just to make you feel like an underachiever!). Aside from Dante Aligheri, she says that she's inspired by 'parapsychology', 'Katie Shillingford' (of Dazed & Confused - one of my hair icons!) and 'flowers'.

Exhibition space at Istanbul Inn London - Dilara Findikoglu
The exhibition space was set up in this sort of homely-cum-creepy atmosphere, with armchairs and books but with clothes strung up like pieces of meat. I loved the contrasts.

My only gripe? I CAN'T FIND WHERE TO BUY THIS AMAZING STUFF. Seriously, I'm being tortured here. If you want to see more of Dilara's work, check out her Cargo Collective account, but otherwise you'll have to hold tight and wait for it to go on sale somewhere soon. I'm crossing my fingers for a pop-up shop...

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Bath in Fashion Festival: Style in the City

This month sees one of Britain's key fashion cities celebrating its style connections with the Bath in Fashion festival. From 13th-21st April there will be a packed schedule of events and exhibitions to help you indulge your inner fashionista, whether you're into the stunning photography of Norman Parkinson or the modern super stylist Rebekah Roy. Here are some of the highlights:

Mouvements de Femmes: Roland Mouret in conversation with Susanna Frankel (Grazia's Fashion Director) - Monday 15th April, The Octagon at Milsom Place

He's known for iconic dresses such as the Galaxy, seen on A-listers and widely copied by the high street, but you'll see him in a new light here, as the curator of Norman Parkinson's photography exhibition. Obviously someone who appreciates the female form, Mouret will be grilled by the brilliant Susanna Frankel, so expect some juicy soundbites. Tickets cost £20 from Visit Bath.

Fashion illustration of a woman in a black dress, by David Downton

 Downton's timeless painted illustrations are worth seeing. [Image via]

David Downton's Illustration Masterclass with model Jade Parfitt - Saturday 20th April, The Grange Suite in the Bath Spa Hotel

I was lucky enough to hear Downton speak at the London College of Fashion a few years ago, where I sat in the audience taking copious notes and lapping up every word - I'm utterly in awe of his work and even used him as inspiration for my AS-Level Art project, back in the day. You'll know a Downton illustration for its expressive and fluid lines, celebrity subjects such as Dita Von Teese and its minimalist finish; he's also the fashion illustrator in residence at Claridges and creates unforgettable couture and catwalk imagery. Tickets have sold out for this event, so if you've managed to score one then I'm incredibly jealous.

BathVA's Vintage Fashion Fair Special - Sunday 21st April, Green Park Station

In a place with so much history, it's only right that vintage style gets a look-in here. Get your hair fixed up like a true retro lady (Marcel wave? Victory rolls? Yes, please) and browse over 50 stalls selling the very best local finds. There's even a dance troupe to entertain you as you shop - what more could you want, except a man in a classic car? Yep, they'll have them too. Entry is free and it runs from 9:30am to 4:00pm, so there's plenty of time to track down a bargain, but you may want to get there early for the best selection (of vintage, not men in cars). 

Aside from these picks, there will be plenty of exhibitions at the Holburne Museum, including 50 Fabulous Frocks and an installation by artist Julie Verhoeven, or you can pop to the famous Fashion Museum to see the Dress of the Year 2012. In between all of this, you might want to explore the Roman Baths or take a boat trip down the river, as I've done when I've visited over the years.

With talks, art displays and pop-up shops to check out, there really is something for everyone on the festival schedule. Well done to Visit Bath for an incredible line-up - I just wish I could be there myself!
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