Vans/Liberty Paisley shoe
Vans/Liberty Floral Checker shoe
Hot on the heels (yes, bad pun) of their successful Summer 2013 collaboration with American skate fashion icon Vans, Liberty of London has teamed up with them again. This latest venture is a holiday collection featuring their quintessentially English floral, paisley, and abstract designs on classic American kicks. The colors are rich jewel tones—appropriate for the season and unexpectedly fun on street wear sneaks.
Over the past several years, Liberty has been consistently out-doing itself with adventurous odd-couple pairings of surface pattern design and fashion, including work with Nike, Northface, Supreme, Dr. Martens, and Edwin. The only collaborators that might have topped them (in 2013 anyway) would have to be MIA versus Versace, which has raised the bar quite high. Liberty certainly seems to be headed down that road.
It's exciting to think what they will do next...
Image from designmilk.com
| |The blog Design Milk recently featured a piece on Dutch textile company Vlisco that is worth checking out. The 160+ year old company creates big bold prints using a specialized wax technique based on batik. Vlisco was originally started to sell fabric to wealthy African clients, but recently it has been spreading its wings in order to reach a more global market by producing consumer goods like bags and scarves.
Vlisco's designs feature work from artists who hail from around the world—it definitely shows in the diversity of pattern that's on display in Design Milk's photo gallery and on the Vlisco website. The company has also amassed an incredible archive of textiles since the 1850s, from which they continually draw inspiration.
For a little inspiration of your own, have a look at the Vlisco feature on Design Milk's blog as well as visit Vlisco's website.
Just in time for New York Fashion Week, Pantone released its Spring 2014 Fashion Color Report on Thursday. The report highlights the top 10 colors used by 25 fashion designers in their forthcoming women's and men's collections, along with insight into their choices and inspiration, as well as color commentary from a number of current "fashion influencers".
The theme for the Spring 2014 report is "Colorful Equilibrium," which it achieves with an unexpected blend of mild pastels and bold brights. Inspiration for the palette includes travel, spring flowers, and a desire from consumers to find something fresh and new, yet balanced.
For more in-depth information and inspiration, you can download the full report for free on the Pantone site.-Kiera
All images from mfa.org.
| |For those surface pattern designers who did not make it to NYC for the Punk to Couture exhibition this summer there is still a chance for you to take in some anti-establishment inspired fashion. From July through November 11, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston is featuring Hippie Chic, a collection of far out fashion from the late 1960s and early 70s.
The clothes from that era are bright and loud and everything the mainstream world was not at the time. Hippie fashion was a bold statement from the counterculture raging against the uptight social mores and limiting traditions of previous generations. And, unlike earlier trends in high fashion, it started at street level via popular youth culture rather than coming down from the exclusive houses of couture.
As hippiedom wore on and was overtaken by succeeding cultural waves, its funky tie-dyes, bell bottoms, and psychedelic prints began to seem tacky and overdone. The generations to follow were not exactly kind when looking back on that wild era. (How many of you have ever dressed as a "hippie" for Halloween?) Luckily for us, MFA Boston's Hippie Chic exhibit has brought out some of the best clothing samples from that time, reminding us of how truly innovative, daring, and fun its fashion was.
| |Amidst a backdrop of shag carpets and mind bending wallpaper, 54 garments are displayed to represent varying looks of the movement. There is an abundance of surface pattern design to take in, from vibrant florals, paisleys, and geometrics to intricate ethnic prints. My favorite piece by far is the men’s suit jacket a la William Morris (see image at right). Also included in the exhibit are some of the few remaining pieces from celebrated fashion designers Thea Porter, Ossie Clark & wife Celia Birtwell and Giorgio Sant’Angelo.
I think this show is another must see! If you are able to attend, please let us know what you thought! We'd love a field report.
| | The so-called "resort season" is fading into the annals of time, along with the rules of fashion that go with it. In June, the Wall Street Journal reported that designers are breaking the boundaries of seasonal patterns, and they’re doing it with floral, tropical, and botanical prints--yay!
It used to be that November through May was when resort fashions were trotted down the runway. They were originally targeted for the affluent to wear during their annual escape from the dead of winter to more tropical climes. That concept now seems antiquated, so designers are tossing the resort season aside in favor of “pre-spring”. Pre-spring collections tend to stay on the rack longer while also maintaining their retail price.
Oscar de la Renta
What’s a designer to do to keep the fashions fresh from brisk autumn to icy winter and on to balmy spring? Like white pants after Labor Day, floral patterns used to be shelved after the summer season. Now, they’re showing up year ‘round. Oscar de la Renta states, “Women buy clothes today to wear whenever they want.” They choose clothes that they fall in love with, without regard to whether a floral is acceptable in December.
Nevertheless, the flowers and botanicals don’t have to look fresh from a garden party. Dior puts an abstract bent on his florals and Jason Wu put his botanicals in silhouette. De la Renta put a menswear-inspired glen plaid behind his florals. The LinkedIn fashion group Mudpie recently reported on miniaturizing patterns to create textures, used to good effect by Dior.
What will you do to make your florals alluring across all seasons?
| |Fashion meets art in this over the top exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute. The exhibit features approximately 100 clothing designs, plus videos of classic punk performers and a replica 1975 CBGB bathroom—urinals included. In an ironic juxtaposition, original punk DIY garments are displayed next to the Haute Couture designs that they inspired. Although the high fashion designs borrow heavily from the low-fi punk aesthetic, they remain incongruously out of reach to the very people in that anti-establishment movement.
If you are familiar with the punk style it will not surprise you that plaids and stripes abound in this exhibition. However there is more for surface pattern designers to feast their eyes on. Museum-goers will see the use of text as motif whether incorporated in an engineered design or all over pattern, as well as bold floral prints combined with the seemingly random looking paint splatter. This use of a "drop cloth" look of splotched paint wasn't as random as it might seem, but rather was a deliberate way to create wonderful shapes and texture.
Punk: Chaos to Couture features many fashion designers who continually incorporate pattern into their creations such as John Galliano, Vivianne Westwood, and Christopher Kane. There will be patterns of all kinds throughout this exhibit, enjoy the visual experience and become inspired.
Image from metmuseum.org
Image from metmuseum.org.
Image from metmuseum.org.
Jennifer's "Ship's Captain" mood board created on Polyvore.com.
It's been a couple months since our meeting about creating a mood board for your ideal client. Those of you who haven't finished one (and those who just love assembling images for design inspiration), take note: Polyvore might the site for you! We like to call it mood board central.
With this latest wonder of bookmarklet social media, you can create a limitless variety of "sets" (essentially mood boards) based on fashion, interior design, beauty, art, and more. A set is built by "clipping" images you find on the web and then using the Polyvore editing tool to artfully arrange them into a collage. Once your lovingly curated set is assembled you can share it with members on the site and promote it via Facebook, Twitter, and the other usual social media outlets.
Polyvore essentially follows a model similar to Pinterest, although it describes its main purpose as "social commerce" rather than pure inspiration. Just like Pintrest, Polyvore will link found images on their site to the web pages from where they were pulled—a boon to companies with products to sell. Even if you aren't interested in this window shopping aspect of the site (and its fashion-heavy leanings), we think Polyvore is a more useful tool than Pinterest for creating smaller visual stories, like the kind we put together when thinking of our ideal clients.
Now that you have the feel of it, think about how you could apply this tool when developing your next surface pattern design collection. Use it for inspiration or even tap into its powerful social commerce functionality by mocking up products with your designs and building a branded set.
Polyvore is worth checking out, so see what is trending and follow Jennifer at J’s Pattern Garden. She is the site's latest addict!
-Jennifer & Kiera
| |We recently noted the death of iconic American designer Lilly Pulitzer on our blog. She can be credited with popularizing the pink and green combination, and the New York Times called her “a major force in prep resort wear”. Others have called her a "designer by accident." Lilly was a socialite who was just as famous for her fashions as she was for entertaining. How did she get there?
Photo: Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images. From elle.com. Lilly Pulitzer on right.
Capitalizing on her bright idea, Lilly closed the stand and started her clothing business a year after she sold her first dress. When an old classmate of hers by the name of Jackie Kennedy was photographed by LIFE magazine wearing one of her dresses (or the “Lillies”) her company took off. Soon she was also designing clothing for men and children and dressing the entire horsey set for their warm weather vacations.
Eventually Lilly employed her own design studio to produce her signature fabrics. They were literally signature designs, as she would creatively hide her name among the motifs. Most of her textiles were produced by Key West Hand Print Fabrics. The three artists mainly responsible for the Lilly Pulitzer look are Susie Zuzek dePoo, her daughter Martha, and Leigh Martin Hooten. Susie and Leigh were trained textile designers. “We focus on the best, fun and happy things, and people want that. Being happy never goes out of style,” Lilly said.
Here you see the name "lilly" in the motif fashionsfinest.fuzzylizzie.com
Lilly Pulitzer fashions are now available through specialty shops, select department stores and through their website. The new products retain all the fun, whimsy and sunny disposition of the original designs, because as Lilly famously said, “It’s always summer somewhere!”
What’s your favorite Lilly Pulitzer print? Go to our Google group to share!
Lillian McKim was born in New York to a wealthy family in 1931. In 1952, she eloped with Herbert “Peter” Pulitzer of the Pulitzer Prize family. They moved to Palm Beach, Florida where she embraced the tropical lifestyle, typically spurning shoes and underwear.
But even carefree, wealthy socialites among waving palms can suffer from depression. Lilly ended up undergoing inpatient treatment while in her twenties. When she emerged in 1959, she was looking for a new hobby and decided to open a juice stand in Palm Beach using the fruits of her husband’s citrus groves.
It turned out to be a messy business and Lilly's clothes were often stained with juice. She recruited her friend, Laura Robbins (a former editor at Harper’s Bazaar), to help design a simple shift dress and, using bold, tropical prints, Lilly fashioned a wardrobe that effectively hid the stains. Her dresses ended up drawing more interest from her customers than her juices!
Photo: Cecil Stoughton. White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
When the 1980s arrived, interest in her kitschy designs waned so Lilly filed for bankruptcy and retired. Then in 1993, her brand was sold and revived to introduce her bright, optimistic fashions to the children and grandchildren of her original customers. The tropical preppy wardrobe was back. Lilly returned to work as a consultant for the new company which has thrived ever since.
Photo: Slim Aarons/Hulton. Lilly and her fabric!
In honor of Spring, we thought we'd take a look at the colors of the season. Pantone’s Spring 2013 palette is called “Balancing Act.” In it, “designers overwhelmingly address consumers’ desire for self-expression, balance and the need to re-energize.”
You can download Pantone’s Spring 2013 report for free. In this report you will find numerous designers describing how they interpreted the colors you see above for Spring. Not only are their interpretations enlightening, but the illustrations showing their designs are fabulous!
The designers in the report include Tracy Reese, Peter Som, Herve Leger, Rachel Roy, Ella Moss, Charlotte Ronson, Tadashi Shoji, Pamella Roland, Carmen Marc Valvo, David Meister, BCBG, Nanette Lepore, Nicole Miller, Cynthia Steffe, Barbara Tfank, Lela Rose, Bibhu Mohapatra, Sachin + Babi, Tommy Hilfiger, NAHM, Karen Walker, TiA CiBANI, Marimekko, Wes Gordon, Cushnie et Ochs, Custo Barcelona, Saunder, and Elie Tahari. ~Sarah
| |Having just returned from a trip to London, where I made my first visit to the famous Liberty of London store, I was thrilled to hear the news that J Crew will be bringing us another gorgeous collaboration with that iconic British design house. For its Spring 2013 collection, J Crew will be ushering in the season with Liberty's cheerful floral prints, stylishly applied to bikinis, capri pants, ballet flats, wrap belts, and more. Check out the eye candy and maybe even liven up your wardrobe with a few pieces!