Hawthorne & Heaney Visits Anna Sui Exhibition

An exciting exhibition focusing on the daring, rock-n-roll  American fashion designer, Anna Sui. Exhibited at the London Fashion and Textile Museum until 1st October 2017. Anna Sui is not your traditional American fashion designer. From Detroit to New York her unique style is forever growing and adapting to the pop culture that reinvents itself for every new generation. She established her label in 1981 and had her first catwalk show in 1991. She has been forever growing her independant vision by not only creating garments but expanding into textiles, accessories, beauty and interiors. The World of Anna Sui features over 100 looks from the designer’s archive and is a beautiful commendation for all she has achieved so far from beginning to end.

“Even if people haven’t heard them for a while, I feel I’m telling stories that never go out of style” – Anna Sui.

The exhibition has a mass variety of archetypes from Mods and Punks, School Girls to Hippies and Surfers. Anna Sui creates a look for a particular woman, in her own words: “one with a sense of fantasy such as a fairy-tale princess but there is also a darker side, you could never tell whether she is a good girl or a bad one.” This is something everyone can relate to as a form of expression. It is also the first time an American designer has been the focus of a retrospective exhibition in the UK.

“But I’m always looking for the unfamiliar perspective on familiar things. That takes research. Which, as I said, is my favourite thing.” – Anna Sui.

One aspects of the exhibition that will capture your attention was the research boards Anna Sui creates for every garment piece she designs. The quote you see above this text is said by the fashion designer herself, how she is always looking for an unfamiliar perspective which is achieved through her research. The boards tell a story, a journey in fact from where the source of inspiration came from and how Anna Sui has adapted that knowledge into her vision and essentially put her own, unique twist upon it in order to achieve the end result. This example on the right is her ‘Floral Stripe Peplum Dress’ part of her Spring 2012 collection. The collection was set out to “evoke the atmosphere of the fashionable Club Sept, frequented by the likes of Jerry Hall and Grace Jones in their early days as models. The collection mixed the glamour of the 1970s with a 1940s’ sensibility, reflecting the style of dress on the dance floor.”

This example showcases Anna Sui’s talent to combine eras, using that inspiration and knowledge from past decades in order to transform it and create a beautifully, modern peplum dress. Therefore if you have an interest in previous decades and an admiration for pop culture then this is the exhibition for you. The photograph below shows the research journey for this particular dress:

The following information was learned during my visit to the exhibition through a CGTN interview shown of Anna Sui opening up about this story. By far the best element of the exhibition as nothing beats hearing information first hand from the woman, herself. The interview is called ‘Anna Sui – Fashion’s true original’:

Anna Sui went to her first Paris fashion show with fashion photographer and friend, Steven Meisel. On the way to the show they stopped at The Ritz to pick up his friend, Madonna who came out of her dressing room and into the car wearing a coat. When they arrived at Paris fashion show, Madonna took her coat off and said to Sui, “Anna, I have a surprise for you.” this resulted in Madonna revealing Anna Sui’s dress that she had on. This gave Anna confidence as out of all the high-end labels Madonna could have worn, she chose hers. When Anna Sui arrived back in New York, 10 years after establishing herself as a fashion designer, she premiered her first catwalk show in 1991. Through Steven Meisel, Anna also became friends with models, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista who helped her get all the models together. Everyone pitched in. Her first show opened up multiple opportunities including international, in particular Japanese companies. All this movement from the simple, kind gesture that Madonna did for Anna therefore Sui believes she will always owe a debt of gratitude to her.

To watch the interview yourself please click on the following URL: https://america.cgtn.com/2016/11/12/anna-sui-fashions-true-original

“My favourite thing was always research. I met all the trim people, the button people, the pleating and embroidery people… I kept coming back to music, too. Music made the fashion more amazing, more accessible.” – Anna Sui.

The exhibition ‘The World of Anna Sui’ showcases a variety of craftsmanship including millinery, gold work, print, embellishment, applique, weave, knit and embroidery techniques which you can see evident in the photographs above. If you have an interest in any of these of design or fashion then you will certainly enjoy your visit to the exhibition. Not only will you see a unique twist put on these traditional techniques but it will open up your mind and inspire you as to how you can use inspiration from your surroundings in your own designs. Anna Sui’s work is narrative as her powerful garment collections simply document her journey and interests through the decades. Her archive clearly shows her fascination with pop culture. You can see from beginning to end, how previous decades have influenced her design, how as a fashion designer she, herself has evolved and grown over time with this particular movement. Her interest in fashion, art, design and music is at the core of each idea, with every collection having its own style and inspiration. The composition of Anna Sui’s archive I personally found very powerful as you were completely surrounded by a wide variety of collections that for me, I just did not know where to start. A true statement of the daring, rock-n-roll designer that Anna Sui is. Her research and collections are the “desire to understand why things happened or what inspired the design, song or artwork. This then leads her onto other topics and ideas that themselves become part of the design process.” I truly would recommend anyone to visit this exhibition as it was a pleasure to witness as there is something to suit everyone’s particular taste and interests.

“Anna Sui’s holistic vision as a designer is about making connections, and everything around the designer is part of the connectivity, and the story.”

Please note that the text written in bold is from the ‘The World of Anna Sui’ exhibition and not my own. For further information regarding the exhibition please follow the URL below: http://www.ftmlondon.org/ftm-exhibitions/the-world-of-anna-sui/

Written by Lauren Stewart

 

 

Hawthorne and Heaney Visits Burberry Maker’s House

Burberry is one of the most acclaimed British fashion houses, and to celebrate their Spring/Summer 2017 collection, Burberry partnered up with The New Craftsmen to hold a week long exhibition at Maker’s House, Soho. This event showcased the best of British craftsmen, designers and makers as well as the latest Burberry collection.

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As you make your way into the house, you walk through the garden which is covered in fairy lights with large white sculptures of heads, figures and giant horses creating a magical atmosphere before you’ve entered the building.

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The house was divided into sections, the first floor is where the makers set up their studio for the day. Each day there are a new group of makers, from jewelry makers, basket makers and textile designers. Whilst I was there, I was lucky enough to see the work of Shepherds Book Binders, sculptor Thomas Merrett, textile designers Rosalind Wyatt and Rose De Borman and even got to listen to storytelling from Pindrop studios. Watching all of this was very exciting, especially to see the work that goes into their practice.

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Downstairs is where they displayed giant mood boards showing the inspiration behind Burberry’s SS17 collection designed by Christopher Bailey. For this collection, Bailey took inspiration from the novel ‘Orlando’ by Virginia Woolf, where in the novel the protagonist’s gender changes halfway through. He also drew influences from Nancy Lancaster’s interior design, using her sense of colour and floral designs.

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At the very top of the Makers House is where the Burberry collection was located. Each look was presented across the room with music playing in the background. There was a huge screen where we could watch the catwalk show and this was held here in the Makers House. We found out that even the carpet was bespoke designed for the show!

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The colours in the collection ranged from black and gold to soft mint greens and pinks. Shapes and techniques used alongside the colours captured both feminine and masculine qualities and this fits the story of Orlando.

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This collection was also celebrated as this was the first time the garments were available to buy immediately after the show. Normally it takes around six months to buy what you see on the catwalk.

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This was truly a beautiful collection and a great way for everyone to experience and celebrate London Fashion Week.

 

 

 

 

Hawthorne & Heaney at Debenhams Christmas in July Event

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It may only be August, but Hawthorne & Heaney have already done our first monogramming event for Christmas 2016. The Debenhams PR team, in conjunction with Reverb held their Christmas in July event in a beautiful house in Fitzrovia where we were providing our machine monogramming services.

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The launched their Christmas ranges which included fashion, homewear, lingerie and more. Our embroiderer Pearl and her assistant Chelsea were adding initials to pyjamas and hankerchieves for the attendies while they explored the rest of the event.

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Debenhams guest designers such as Patrick Grant and Julian McDonald were there to talk to the attendies about their collections. The team chose two of our classic fonts in a range of 5 colours for people to personalise their pieces with.

debs 5All in all it was a very busy day, with plenty of glitz and glamour that has set the bar for the rest for the events to come later in the year.

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Hawthorne & Heaney Experiments with Embroidered Interiors

Hawthorne & Heaney have been working on an interior sample collection, using fabrics from our friends and collegues, Dugdale Bros & Co Cloth Merchants.

Founded in 1896, Dugdale’s are a British Heritage brand who are based in Huddersfield, Yorkshire has a very rich weaving industry, with its soft water providing perfect conditions to create the finest woven cloth.

The cloth merchants are very passionate about their British roots, and pride themselves on providing high quality cloth to tailors and designers alike.

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Our collection has been inspired by Dugdale Bros luxury cloth and focuses on integrating embroidery into woven fabrics, and consists mainly of CAD stitching. Using this combination of woollen and velvet has given the collection a unique quality, and allows similar designs to have entirely different effects.

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We have taken a lot of our influences from the British Countryside, providing the collection with a rustic feel which is echoed in the combination of rough textures and earthy colours. The main themes include phesant feathers, antlers and wood grain which can be seen on the mood board.

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We continue to develop and add to this collection so check in with our social media for more updates…

 

Hawthorne & Heaney Asks, ‘What does it take to make a house a home?’

Good design never goes out of fashion, and there’s nothing quite like a piece of quality workmanship crafted by hand. Stylish, expertly worked embroidery goes hand in hand with elegant furniture and amenities to creating a tasteful and stylish space for any home.

Embroidered pieces make a big statement, no matter how large or small they may be. They offer a blank canvas to express a unique individuality, with infinite possibilities for customisation. Trims, tassles, personalisations and intricacies can all be combined by a master crafter to create a richly decorative piece unique to you and only you. It takes a significant amount of skill to create something so seemingly effortless, though with an accomplished team of expert crafters, any household can attain a sophisticated and fashionable look with even just a few choice pieces here and there.

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Embroidery is not simply types of stitches and weaves. It’s not so much about dazzling with fancy technique and sparkling tidbits as it is about crafting something soulful, something that implies attention to detail, dexterity and artfulness. It hasn’t been mass-produced, and an embroidered piece isn’t decorating some neighbour’s bedroom, living room, or bathroom. Embroidery offers bespoke creativity, tailored to your tastes and sensibilities, and lets your soul speak through design.

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Of course, embroidery can’t work solely by itself, and the best design is that which doesn’t draw attention to itself for the wrong reasons. As they say, all good design is 99% invisible! Choosing simple and elegant furniture is key to bringing out the uplifting design effect of embroidered work. For the kitchen or living areas, choosing smooth and sleek designs with light, plain colours will give embroidered items like decorations, throws, tableware and the like the perfect backdrop to be bold foreground showpieces. In the bedroom, understated elegant bedroom furniture like Bedstar’s range of limelight beds will get the most out of any bespoke embroidered linens, sheets, cushions, or runners. Plain design works best: metal or wood furniture is perfect for complimenting bespoke items, in any room of the house.

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It can often seem like a daunting task to attempt to create an uplifting look for the home, and its easy to overdo it. The key step is to relax, and refrain from anything that stands out in the beginning. Sleek understated design is timeless, and will work with just about any other piece to bring out its best qualities.

Written by Olivia Prat. In collaboration with Slap Up Media.

Hawthorne & Heaney on Interiors

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Hawthorne & Heaney has had lots of request over the years to direct our embroidery expertise to apply some of our embroidery techniques to interiors. Occasionally we have dipped our toes into the interiors world, applying goldwork techniques and monograms to cushions and footstools for example but we thought we would also show you some of the inspiring work we have come across recently:

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We also came across this lovely combination where wall covering meet embroidery as Custhom have incorporated embroidered stitches into the graphic design of this paper to add an usual relief element to your feature wall.

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Within the same theme we also came across this inventive floor design by Lin Wei Ling Victoria who drilled and then embroidered into these floorboards.

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Timorous beasties is a design studio up in Glasgow, founded by two friends, Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons who met and Glasgow school of art. They create fabrics and wallpapers in traditional arrangements but insert unexpected themes, mostly inspired by nature. Their work often has a reflective quality as they explore the relationship between, plants, animals and society, a theme that runs throughout their designs.

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Barnaby Gates is another create duo, Vanessa Barnaby and Alice Gates who create really luxurious wall coverings using specially selected, traditional printing processes for each design. There is a quintessential Britishness to the brand as they choose to print in one of the last remaining print works in the Midlands and it provides the inspiration for most of their works.

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In response to this, we thought we tun our hand to apply some of our embroidery expertise to interior design so working with a variety of brocades, this is what we produced:

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If you have a special project in mind and are looking for a way to make it unique, get in touch.

 

Antico Setificio Fiorentino

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Anytime we come across a brand or a maker who shares an ethos with us we like to share them with you and Antico Setificio Fiorentino is one such brand. They make beautiful, traditional silks on handwoven looms in the San Frediano in Florentine tradition as they have since 1786. Their website and literature is a veritable what’s what of silk, explaining the differences in the silks and their corresponding patterns in exceptional detail. From Erminsino to Filaticcio, Broccatello to Lampasso even a textiles enthusiast feels like they have learned something from visiting their world.

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Their website is definitely worth a visit with lots of striking images and hypnotic video clips of the looms. It gives a great sense of the scale of time it must take to make a batch of made to measure cloth. The delicate threads and fibres weave seamlessly through the looms, some of which date back to the 18th century and are based on the original designs of Leonardo Di Vinci. Antico Setificio Fiorentino go to great efforts to share with the public the art of weaving, as they recently exhibited the Di Vinci warping machine in Milan in April. They also have an ongoing project with the State Archives of Florence to restore and digitise ancient volumes of the Art of Silk and the Art of Wool in order to preserve this rare insight into weaving of the past.

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It’s lovely to see such passion and enthusiasm for an ancient craft and that it still has a place and desirability in current textile production. However with such an eye for detail and quality as is seen here, it is no surprise that they continue to thrive.

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