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THE FUTURE IS BRIGHTS
From the runway to the retail selling floor, product is taking a walk on the bright side. Electrifying bursts of color are on full display, infusing all aspects of design with energy and color excitement. Paired with neutrals in a bright-on-bright color story, even a small dose of neon colors can add just the right amount of drama to any color statement.Pantone.com/viewhome12
HUNGRY FOR FASHION
Clothing made of food has taken off in culinary artistic circles with the growth of Le Salon du Chocolat, a trade show that takes place in eight countries and includes a fashion show in which outfits must be made of chocolate. Designs have included a Xena Warrior getup, gowns with enormous chocolate hoop skirts and carnival-style headdresses.
Hazards of a food-clothing photo shoot include the model getting hungry and hot. To stave off melting, designer Joelle Mahoney stitches together thermal-shopping bags she buys at the supermarket to create an inner lining for chocolate clothes. Her most complicated designs are sculpted over a wire-mesh frame to keep garments from drooping and breaking. To create a ruffled mini-dress, she blended one part corn syrup with three parts chocolate to make a pliable substance she says tastes like a tootsie roll.
Le Salon du Chocolat, launched in Paris in 1995, now also takes place in Spain, the U.S., Japan, China, Egypt, Italy and Russia. It always kicks off with a chocolate fashion show. In Moscow one model wore a dress with a sleeve of chocolate roses and a headdress of six lit candles. A designer in Egypt created a chocolate dress that looked like a robe of an ancient ruler.
While there have been instances of designers creating fashion with other foods, including meat (Lady Gaga), breads and artichokes, the appeal of chocolate is the sweetest of them all.
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BLUEPRINT FOR THE HOME
THE MAN WHO ISN'T THERE
Liu Bolin likes to blend in. Taking performance art to a whole new level, Bolin paints himself head to toe and unassumingly just stands there – in grocery stores, next to piles of coal, and even on staircases. Unless you look really closely, you'll miss him entirely – which is pretty much the point.
As it turns out Liu goes through quite a challenging process in creating his art. According to a report in the U.K.'s Daily Mail, Bolin spends hours perfecting his poses to ensure he'll mesh with his background. Bolin then stands in front of backdrops with a team of two assistants to paint the camouflage on his clothes. The "camouflage" can be anything, so long as Bolin segues seamlessly into the backdrop.
Aside from making an artistic statement, Bolin's work does have a deeper meaning. Again according to the Daily Mail, the living sculptures are "designed to show how we all can just disappear in today's mass production world." Photos of Bolin standing in front of a grocery store shelf full of soda cans and bottles and buried within a pile of coal highlight how easy it is to just recede into the background.
Visit www.elikleinfineart.com to see the collection.
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Whether we can attribute this newest material introduction to the rising costs of python and crocodile, or a desire to create products in environmentally sustainable materials that are more socially acceptable, fish skins are rapidly becoming a shoe-and-bag favorite for designers: Emporio Armani has used tilapia; Dolce & Gabbana toyed with marine eel; and Derek Lam's Fall 2011 accessories collection welcomed perch skin.
Salmon skin looks to be a particular favorite. Sprout Watches (sproutwatches.com) uses salmon skin to construct their new timepieces and Brazil-based Osklen (osklen.com) has created a dark chocolate tote that is so shockingly sleek, it resembles a water snake. Takes the expression “Gone Fishin' ” to a whole new level.
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With the consumer yearning for a little bit of excitement, color has returned in a big way and is being shown in every product category. For fall 2011, snakeskin splashed in bold hues and richly colored furs and skins are just a few examples of the unexpected places color is being used to make a fashion statement. From apparel for men and women to handbags and footwear, skin is in and plush fur, sleek pony hair and fantastic feathers are all adding up to what will be a very flamboyant fall season.
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TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE
Dark tales continue to influence design trends with films such as Black Swan telling the story of a prima ballerina's descent into madness and Rick Genest – also known as Zombie Boy – covering his entire head and torso with skeletal tattoos when he appeared in the Lady Gaga music video Born This Way.
And of course we know how HBO reinvigorated the vampire craze when they introduced True Blood. Not only is there a delicious blood orange carbonated drink inspired by Bill's favorite synthetic blood nourishment beverage but now, to coincide with the launch of the upcoming season, Hammit Los Angeles (www.hammitt.com) worked with HBO on a handbag line that contains three styles: Sookie, Eric and Alcide. The Eric bag contains bullet-shaped studs to mimic the bullets he took for Sookie, while the Alcide bag has a fake-fur flap and a life-size screen-printed wolf image on the inside.
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THE URBAN JUNGLE
While the desire for home-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs has led to a renewed interest in gardening in cities as well as in more rural areas, we are also seeing consumers longing to live closer to nature, resulting in an increased interest in the art of stuffed animals. These plush creations, however, are not intended for children but are instead considered design objects. German-based designer Hans-Peter Krafft has crafted a line of whimsical sheep sturdy enough to be used as stools, built with oaken legs, leather ears and real sheepskin. French company Design et Nature (www.designetnature.fr) uses the age-old art of taxidermy in the creation of their products. Combining this new trend with more sustainable practices, Design et Nature only uses animals that were born in captivity and have died naturally, in essence giving these animals a second life.
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LENS: THE BRIDGE TO OTHER WORLDS
The yellow color family works for everything. Warm and luminous, the vital golden colors of the sun sparkle with optimism and activity and are meant to be seen and loved. In Lens, The Bridge to Other Worlds, a color palette displayed in Bridges, the PANTONEVIEW Colour Planner Forecast for Spring/Summer 2012, the focus is an array of strong yellow shades which are then tempered by a range of neutrals and a metallic gold. We see a hot and vibrant lemon chrome and flame orange set against a background canvas of the neutral star white and atmosphere gray, and the pairing of the fresh, airy marina and imperial blues set against a buff yellow and lemon chrome, for a simple story of classic opposites. En plein soleil … everything looks good.
TONES: How did the idea for NewlyMaid come about?
ALAN DESSY: In the 1990s, The Dessy Group was the first company to offer bridal retailers free samples of collections. We revolutionized the way bridesmaids dresses are merchandized in our industry. That program, still going strong today, gave us firsthand experience in how to handle merchandise that needs to be retired. I realized that there are so many dresses out there with the consumer that were not going to be worn again, and that no one was reclaiming. Exposure to concepts like Netflix and Rent-the-Runway mixed with my industry experience gave me the idea for NewlyMaid.
TONES: What happens to the traded-in dresses?
AD: Returned dresses are either donated to charity or recycled. Dresses suitable for reuse are donated to Clothes4Souls. NewlyMaid works with UNIFI, a global textile company, to recycle qualifying dresses that are 100% polyester.
TONES: Why did you pick Clothes4Souls as the charity NewlyMaid benefits?
AD: We had already donated some of our bridesmaid's shoes that we manufacture to Soles4Souls, so I was familiar with the organization. I was truly touched by some of the videos I saw of Wayne Elsey delivering shoes to children in Haiti. When they opened the new Clothes4Souls division, we immediately sent them 500 dresses and notified them of our plans to develop NewlyMaid. They were very happy to have us as their partner on this project. We are equally thrilled to participate with them in their mission.
TONES: : Do the dresses have to be Dessy to be accepted for trade in?
AD: We will accept almost any bridesmaid dress as long as it's in good condition – no tears or stains, all zippers and closers working. We're also recycling mother-of-the-bride dresses, prom dresses and most other special occasion styles (except bridal gowns).
TONES: : So, why did you decide on the little black dress? Do you think you'll ever expand the selection into more styles or categories?
AD: This is just a start. We plan to take the concept in many different directions in the near future. We will expand the dress collection first, and then possibly offer alternatives for the trade-in, such as bags, shoes and accessories. We've already had some inquiries from designers who would like to create NewlyMaid styles for us. As far as the little black dress? It's a classic. It never goes out of style.
To find out more about The Dessy Group's unique trade in-program, or to download a prepaid mailer and get started on your own trade, visit www.NewlyMaid.com
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