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Inspired by science, Iris van Herpen’s sculptural styles push fashion and technology forward

Is fashion art? That debate finally might be coming to a rest with New York’s Museum of Modern Art just opening its first clothing design show in more than 70 years. Now the Cincinnati Art Museum turns the question around and introduces a fresh discussion.

Iris van Herpen’s cutting-edge designs, some created with the aid of 3D printing, certainly are art. Are they fashion?

Cincinnati Art Museum Chief Curator Cynthia Amneus, who also is the museum’s curator of fashion arts and textiles, is responsible for bringing Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion to town. The touring exhibit, which originated in van Herpen’s homeland of the Netherlands in 2012, features 44 visionary outfits and nine pairs of fierce-looking shoes.

Amneus, who has proven the local popularity of clothing exhibitions with the bridal gown survey Wedded Perfection and the Rudi Gernreich showcase The Total Look, knows some visitors will shake their heads over the lack of wearable looks in this latest display. Clouds of “refinery smoke” billow from a dress and nearly engulf one mannequin. A barely-there skeleton clings to another form. Coils of dark acrylic encircle another torso like snakes. But even the wildest styles highlight van Herpen’s experimentation and likely influence on future fashion.

“I think of her as an artist who happens to make things that are on the body,” Amneus says. “We are an art museum, showing the most innovative and avant-garde examples of her work.”

In 2010, van Herpen became the first designer to send a 3D-printed garment down a runway, and the rippling top, intended to represent the limestone scales left when water evaporates, is included in the show. The 33-year-old draws her inspiration from nature and natural phenomena and turns to technology, nontraditional materials, architects and other collaborators as needed to make her ideas reality.

She has created many beautiful pieces — the visual energy of her black and white Voltage collection could make your hair stand on end — but van Herpen is more interested in figuring things out than making clothes pretty, Amneus says. In fact, Transforming Fashionhas much in common with the museum’s current Ana England: Kinship exhibit and that artist’s investigations of molecules, fossils and waves. Transforming Fashion is one part couture show, one part science fair. There’s even a station where visitors can touch some of the tantalizing 3D-printed materials, plastics and hand-burnished, hand-pleated steel mesh that van Herpen has used in her creations.

The names of van Herpen’s collections — for instance, Mummification, Crystallization, and Radiation Invasion — convey whatever science or phenomenon influenced her. She captured the emotions she felt while skydiving in a collection titled Capriole, a word meaning “leap.” Magnetic Motion was inspired by a visit to CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) and the Large Hadron Collider. Her desire to represent the push and pull of those magnetic forces in a clear dress led to 3D printing of a transparent plastic — something she initially was told couldn’t be done.

One of her earliest collections, Chemical Crows, is based on a flock of birds near her Amsterdam studio. She made those dresses all by hand but was no less inventive, using the spines from children’s umbrellas to form collars that suggest patterns of flight.

“The way that she works is like an artist,” Amneus says. “She has an idea, a concept. ‘OK, how do I make this happen?’ ”

Van Herpen is not driven by technology, Amneus says. It’s merely a tool for her art. “She will play around with 30 or 40 different materials, 30 or 40 different techniques, and sometimes she will choose the handmade version over the technology, even though the technology might be faster, because the handmade technique brings to fruition what’s in her head.”

Visitors can play a guessing game over which pieces were 3D-printed. The big clear collar that mimics a cool splash? It’s handmade. In a video in the exhibit, art collector/designer/brewery heiress Daphne Guinness is repeatedly doused with black and clear water, and van Herpen chooses which still frame she wants to work with. We then see her using a heat gun, scissors and pliers on a sheet of PET plastic — the same material used in soda bottles — to recreate every drip. She is asked in the video how much she is willing to compromise. “I don’t like to compromise,” she responds.

But she does like to experiment. At one point, van Herpen talks about her appreciation of technology like 3D printing, as well as her fascination with nature and natural materials. “We are still wearing wools and silks,” she says, “but I really wonder if that is something we will still do in the future. It does trigger my imagination. What else can we wear?”

Van Herpen is marking 10 years since she launched her brand after internships with Alexander McQueen and the Dutch fiber artist Claudy Jongstra. “She was making fashion (in those internships) but wanted to build, to construct,” Amneus says. “She wanted to make things, not just sew. It was clear which way she was going.”

And van Herpen’s work is indicative of which way fashion is going, Amneus believes. Eventually, 3D printing and other technology will trickle down from haute couture to ready-to-wear clothes, she says.

She points to the prevalence of Fitbits and smartphones. “Who thought we’d be wearing technology? Who thought we’d have the internet in our pocket?” Amneus asks. Van Herpen, she says, is now looking at 4D printing of “smart cloth” that will warm up if it senses the wearer is cold.

“It’s coming. We will be wearing this stuff,” Amneus says. “I have no doubt about that.”Read more at:evening dresses | formal dresses

11:29 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Hell on heels but the show must go on at NMBFW

Beautiful heels can be hell to walk in as a Nelson Mandela Bay Fashion Week model found on opening night when she stumbled and fell more than once on the ramp at Tramways.

But the show must go on so plus-size model Ivana Leigh Japtha marched on in her Kitibella stilettoes to finish her walk for fashion designer Lisokazi M. With the crowd cheering her from then on, Japtha later returned with a more solid shoe.

“I was overwhelmed with the crowd’s reaction and that definitely helped me carry on with my walk,” she said after toppling off her nude heels more at least twice during her walk.

“Things happen and it just depends how you deal with them so it’s pointless for me to let it affect me negatively.

“At first I was scared to go back to the runway even in my own comfortable shoe but my fellow models motivated me and told me not to let it affect me,” she said.

The full-figured model made her first ramp appearance earlier this year at Bay Fashion Sundays in the run-up to NMBFW this week and said becoming a model was a personal journey.

“If you had asked me a year ago if I would ever be a model I would have laughed and said ‘hell no’ simply because I didn’t have the confidence and self-belief,” Japtha said.

Fashion designer Lisokazi Manzini said the models were told they could wear their own shoes but Japtha was asked to wear the Kitibella shoe as it was one of the sponsors of the show.Read more at:formal dresses perth | plus size formal dresses

08:11 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


As Ivanka Trump's political influence grows

It is no secret that the bulk of Ivanka Trump's merchandise comes from China. But just which Chinese companies manufacture and export her handbags, shoes and clothes is more secret than ever, an Associated Press investigation has found.

In the months since she took her White House role, public information about the companies importing Ivanka Trump goods to the U.S. has become harder to find. Information that once routinely appeared in private trade tracking data has vanished, leaving the identities of companies involved in 90 percent of shipments unknown. Even less is known about her manufacturers. Trump's brand, which is still owned by the first daughter and presidential adviser, declined to disclose the information.

The deepening secrecy means it's unclear who Ivanka Trump's company is doing business with in China, even as she and her husband, Jared Kushner, have emerged as important conduits for top Chinese officials in Washington. The lack of disclosure makes it difficult to understand whether foreign governments could use business ties with her brand to try to influence the White House — and whether her company stands to profit from foreign government subsidies that can destroy American jobs. Such questions are especially pronounced in China, where state-owned and state-subsidized companies dominate large swaths of commercial activity.

"There should be more transparency, but right now we do not have the legal mechanism to enforce transparency unless Congress requests information through a subpoena," said Richard Painter, who served as chief White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, and is part of a lawsuit against President Donald Trump for alleged constitutional violations. "I don't know how much money she's making on this and why it's worth it. I think it's putting our trade policy in a very awkward situation."

An AP review of the records that are available about Ivanka Trump's supply chain found two potential red flags. In one case, a province in eastern China announced the award of export subsidies to a company that shipped thousands of Ivanka Trump handbags between March 2016 and February of this year, Chinese public records show — a possible violation by China of global fair trade rules, trade experts said.

The AP also found that tons of Ivanka Trump clothing were exported from 2013 to 2015 by a company owned by the Chinese government, according to public records and trade data. It is unclear whether the brand is still working with that company, or other state-owned entities. Her brand has pledged to avoid business with state-owned companies now that she's a White House adviser, but contends that its supply chains are not its direct responsibility.

Ivanka Trump's brand doesn't actually make its products directly. Instead, it contracts with licensees who oversee production of her merchandise. In exchange, those licensees pay the brand royalties. The AP asked Ivanka Trump's brand for a list of its suppliers. The company declined to disclose them. The clothing, footwear and handbag licensees contacted by AP also declined to reveal source factories.

Abigail Klem, president of IT Operations LLC, which manages Ivanka Trump's brand, said the company does not contract with foreign state-owned companies or benefit from Chinese government subsidies. However, she acknowledged that its licensees might.

"We license the rights to our brand name to licensing companies that have their own supply chains and distribution networks," Klem said in an email. "The brand receives royalties on sales to wholesalers and would not benefit if a licensee increased its profit margin by obtaining goods at a lower cost," she added.

But Michael Stone, chairman of Beanstalk, a global brand licensing agency, said lower production costs for licensees would ultimately benefit Ivanka Trump by freeing up money for marketing or lower retail prices, both of which drive sales.

"It gives her a competitive advantage and an indirect benefit to her financially," Stone said. "The more successful the licensee is the more successful Ivanka Trump is going to be."

The AP identified companies that sent Ivanka Trump products to the United States by looking at shipment data maintained by ImportGenius and Panjiva Inc., private companies that independently track global trade. Panjiva's records show that 85 percent of shipments of her goods to the U.S. this year originated in China and Hong Kong, but beyond that, it's becoming more difficult to map the brand's global footprint.

The companies that shipped Ivanka Trump merchandise to the U.S. are listed for just five of 57 shipments logged by Panjiva from the end of March, when she officially became a presidential adviser, through mid-September. Panjiva collects data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which did not immediately release the missing data to AP.

While in many cases the manufacturer ships goods directly, merchandise can also be made by one company and shipped by another trading or consolidation company.

There used to be more visibility. Last year, 27 percent of the companies that exported Ivanka Trump merchandise to the U.S. were identified in Panjiva's records, and back in 2014 a full 95 percent were named. For two of Ivanka Trump's licensees — G-III Apparel Group Ltd. and Marc Fisher Footwear — the number of shipments appears to plunge in 2015, likely because they "requested to hide" their shipment activity, according to Panjiva records. Neither company responded to AP's questions.

The brand declined to comment on the growing murkiness of its supply chain.

Chris Rogers, an analyst at Panjiva, said any company can ask customs authorities to redact its information for any reason. About a quarter of companies request anonymity, he said, but the majority don't mind disclosing who they're doing business with.

"A lot of companies have said, 'yes there might be a commercial disadvantage, but we want to be transparent about our supply chain,'" he explained. "'Why would we want to cover up the fact that we're working with this particular company?'"

While ethics lawyers may see disclosure as the best antidote to conflict of interest, many brands see it as a tool to keep supply chains scandal-free. Public outcry over sweatshop conditions and worker suicides prompted companies like Nike Inc. and Apple Inc. to disclose the names and addresses of their manufacturers, and a growing number, including Gap Inc., the H&M Group, New Balance Athletics Inc., Adidas AG and Levi Strauss & Co., publicly identify their suppliers.

Ivanka Trump should do the same, said Allen Adamson, founder and CEO of BrandSimple Consulting. "It's a missed opportunity to lead by example."

What shipping records do show is that a company called Zhejiang Tongxiang Foreign Trade Group Co. Ltd., a sprawling conglomerate once majority-owned by the Chinese state, sent at least 30 tons of Ivanka Trump handbags to the U.S. between March 2016 and February.

Zhejiang province's commerce department said in June 2014 that it would help lower export costs for that same company, along with nine other local enterprises, through a special three-year trade promotion program. Among the measures outlined were export insurance subsidies and funding for online trading platforms and international marketing, as well as special funds earmarked for foreign trade companies with large-scale, fast-growing exports.

The value of the subsidies is unclear, as are details about how the directives were implemented, but using subsidies to reduce the price of exports is considered so destructive to fair trade that the World Trade Organization generally bans the practice. Chinese government subsidies hurt American workers but can lower costs for U.S. companies that import made-in-China merchandise, potentially boosting their profits. President Donald Trump has called companies that benefit from foreign government subsidies "cheaters."

The AP spoke with four trade experts in the United States and China who said the Zhejiang measures appeared to violate World Trade Organization rules. "These are clearly export subsidies," said Gary Hufbauer, a trade expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

Zhejiang province's Department of Commerce and the Zhejiang Tongxiang Foreign Trade Group declined comment.

The AP also found that from Oct. 2013 to Jan. 2015, Jiangsu High Hope International Group Corp., a conglomerate majority-owned by the Jiangsu provincial government, shipped 45 tons of Ivanka Trump clothing to the U.S., according to records from ImportGenius and Panjiva.

High Hope told AP it had "a small number of business dealings" with Ivanka Trump licensee G-III Apparel, but declined to answer questions about whether the relationship is ongoing.

G-III, which is based in New York City, declined to respond to specific questions but said in a statement that it is "committed to legal compliance and ethical business practices in all of our operations worldwide." Ivanka Trump licensee Mondani Handbags & Accessories Inc., also headquartered in New York, did not respond to requests for comment.

Ivanka Trump's brand said it was in the process of reviewing its supply chains with the help of "independent experts whose mission it is to advance human rights" and emphasized that all licensees, manufacturers, subcontractors and suppliers are required to abide by the law, as well as ethical practices set forth in a vendor code of conduct.

The AP asked to see the code of conduct, but the brand declined to share it.Read more at:formal dresses melbourne | plus size formal dresses

10:49 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)