Sometimes, you’ve got a fashion collection that is pure poetry. Uma Wang‘s spring-summer 2023 is one of these rare examples. Her line-up is an ode to nature – but not in a cliché way. The neutral palette conjured the serene eternity of desert sands; coffee dye gave an earthiness to some of the materials. The second look was created from one length of a metal and cotton fabric that resembles tree bark. Sheer nylon was used, said Wang, to evoke “a white cloud in the sky.” Just as Wang harnessed different natural elements – sky and earth, for example – so she combined menswear touches with soft draping, flou, and structure. This collection read as mature as opposed to trendy because of the clarity of Wang’s vision, which is largely derived from her passion for materials. The designer works closely with Italian mills creating incredible, often textural fabrics, which help to inform the silhouettes. In general, Wang’s stories are like collages of different stories that somehow make sense when connected. For spring, Wang borrowed from the world of interiors a frayed cotton meant to evoke a woman wearing something she found at an antiques market. There was an ’80s boldness to menswear-inspired coats, jackets, and sleeves, for example. The square-toe shoes were inspired by those worn during the Ming Dynasty. The styling of the necklaces and hats tripped up a narrative that otherwise felt like a true fusion of elements relating to culture, history, and gender forged into something new. In her show notes, Wang wrote of nature existing beyond boundary and taboo; she associates wilderness with freedom. The humility one feels in the face of the natural world finds a parallel in the designer’s respect for textiles and craft, but otherwise this collection, which showcased Wang’s formidable talents, celebrated the power of a woman, giving her the option to stand strong, proud, free with the sturdiness of a tree or the gentleness of a cloud.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki. Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!
Whether you come here to walk, bird-watch or swim, the 8km long Vendicari Nature Reserve is one of Sicily’s most spectacular nature spots and a firm favourite with anyone who enjoys the charm of wild beaches. Situated in the south east corner of the island, it is made up of a mixture of lagoons, sandy beaches and rocky coastlines. Most importantly, it is visited each year by thousands of migrating birds, including flamingos, herons and terns, en route to or from Africa. Plant life too is significant, the high salt levels providing an ideal habitat for sweetly-scented herbs, dwarf palms and juniper bushes. On the way to the beach, there’s a lovely caffè serving the most delicious granita from local lemons and avocado.
Photosby Edward Kanarecki. Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!
It’s safe to say that Jonathan Anderson’s spring-summer 2023 menswear collection for Loewe was the most mind-blowing moment of the season. Fashion is on the brink of entering the Metaverse, and arguably our human consciousness is already fused with our digital devices: Jonathan Anderson marked the moment with an intriguing exploration around the subjects of perception, nature and progress. “A fusion of the organic and the fabricated,” he called it. On the one hand, part of his collection was seeded, watered and grown over 20 days in a polytunnel outside Paris. Chia plants and cat’s wort, living greenery, were made to sprout from trainers, tracksuit bottoms, jeans, coats. A collaboration which Anderson forged with the Spanish bio-designer Paula Ulargui Escalona. And on the other: there was Anderson, toying with manipulating tech and his set to make this physical show appear to be a non-real, computer-generated entity when viewed via his livestreamed video and lookbook. “I like this idea of high definition, the idea of that you remove everything away from the clothing, and it becomes about silhouette,” he said in his backstage debrief. When you could drag your eyes away from the fascination of boggling at how Anderson had pulled off the verdant decoration, all was simplicity and clarity. Luxurious leather coats and hoodies, sometimes minimally tailored, and sometimes exaggeratedly puffed up. His ultra-desirable oversized sweaters, teamed with second-skin sport tights. Iterations of Loewe Puzzle bags, utilitarian cross-body and basket totes, dangling on logo ribbons: all of the above underscored his enormously successful talent at focussing on desirable items for the house of Loewe.
There was more to this picture than that, though: the ones who walked down the white, metaversial slope of the set with wraparound masks, or coats and T-shirts implanted with screens playing videos of people kissing, flocks of birds at sunset, tropical fish, flowers and winking eyes. “When you’re sitting on a train or in a cafe, everyone is looking at the screen,” said Anderson. “And in weird way, I was fascinated by this idea. What happens when a screen becomes the face?” At its best, stirring up cultural discussion is the job that fashion can take on. Anderson’s show and the waves it will make do just that. What he presented was less of a judgment than a question, though. “I think we should have a place to be able to talk about these things constructively,” he said. Pitting nature against tech isn’t a forward-thinking formula, as far as he sees it: “Maybe out of this through we can find progression somehow.”
Going to the brisk, breezy mountains in the middle of summer is exactly what I needed. Tatra, the highest mountain range in Poland, is a dream. The whole area covers around 800 km² and its protected by two national parks (Polish Tatrzański Park Narodowy and Slovakian Tatranský národný park) – full of untouched wildlife. Tatra mountains are exceptional for many reasons. They have an exciting exploration history and growing popularity both among tourists and explorers. Here, you can practice hiking, climbing, skiing as well as mountain biking. Our goal this time was Morskie Oko – the largest and most beautiful lake in Tatra – which needs a rather intense walk through the humid forests and gorgeous cliffs. Thanks to the cultural sheep pasturage program, tourists can taste original oscypkis and drink zéntyca (sheep milk whey). They can also hear genuine podhale highlander dialect – and eventually see them in their regional outfits. Tatra area is also important because of its historical perspective. These mountains inspired numerous artists and poets, like Stanisław Witkiewicz and Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer, whose body of work contributed to the so-called Zakopane style – which I will post about very soon!
I’m beyond happy to (finally) post my favourite moments from the Santorini trip I took back in June! I’ve never been to Greece before, but this gorgeous and mysterious island of the Cyclades made me realise what’s so unique about the so-called “Greek holidays”. The whitewashed villages huddled on the cliff around the volcanic crater aren’t just a postcard view, but stunning reality here. The history of this island is rich, yet violent: the abrupt eruption buried Akrotiri around 3,600 years ago, the centre of a great Bronze Age civilisation, whose streets, squares and frescoed homes were astonishingly well-preserved beneath a cloak of ash. Archaeologists have unearthed poignant details of lives interrupted: pots of barley, a basket of sea urchins, a golden ibex in a clay chest, perhaps an attempt to appease the wayward gods. Of course, like anywhere with an active volcano on the horizon, that could happen at any time. Perhaps this underlying vulnerability is what gives Santorini its raw intensity, its quietly devastating beauty. And of course, Santorini, with its blazing sunsets, is known to be one of the most romantic places in the world. So, for a great starter, here are some of my sun-drenched shots, just to convey the ambience of this gorgeous, close-to-nature, and even spiritual place.