Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Colin McDowell

Painter - Sketcher - Illustrator - Designer - Publicist

...and now one of the world's top fashion commentators:

Colin McDowell is currently The Sunday Times' chief fashion writer, having worked for numerous quality magazines and newspapers in the past. On top of this Colin is also the Founder of Fashion Fringe, a platform for young designers hoping to start a business; the author of 16 books on fashion and has written biographies for the likes of John Galliano, Ralph Lauren and Manolo Blahnik!

Today at uni we were fortunate enough to be paid a visit by Colin McDowell as part of a series of lectures relating to 20th Century Fashion. What with The Sunday Times' Style magazine been a weekly must-read for me, I was really looking forward to what today would have in-store, and I was not disappointed! Colin was a highly entertaining speaker and really got us involved and listening!

Colin started off by quoting "In Fashion there is no such thing as a virgin birth". In other words everything has been done before in some way or another. It is this which I think helps to distinguish true 'great' designers; those who are able to look back at past fashions, using them as inspiration and starting points for creating something new, not just copying something that has been done before, time and time again. For Colin there are 5 'Great' designers from the 20th century:

~ Madeleine Vionnet - 'Queen of the Bias Cut' ~

~ Cristobal Balenciaga ~

~ Yves Saint Laurent ~

~ Calvin Klein ~

~ Armani ~

As for the 21st Century of Fashion, he believes that there are 3 'great' designers who will push fashion forward and out of it's current low point. These are:

~ John Galliano ~

~ Miuccia Prada ~

~ Marc Jacobs ~

I have to agree that John Galliano is a truly inspirational designer. He is passionate about his work and his fashion shows are incredible! Galliano says that when designing he keeps his customer in mind, 'a modern equivalent of Mr Dior's mother', the woman who inspired Dior's famous 'New Look'. Constantly going back to the Dior Archive for inspiration Galliano never fails to impress, just when you think he might be running out of 'newness' and getting 'same old, same old' he wows us with something new!
I thoroughly enjoyed the talk today, listening to Colin talk about his favourite fashion era (the 50s, it being the last period of Couture and the last period when the age of fashion could take in elegance; his opinions of Coco Chanel and her passion for feminism and more..! and also his advice for us young aspiring designers.
Thank you Colin McDowell!

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