Spying through English Eyes

It was most peculiar that on the day I turned down a trip to Moscow for the Cycles and Seasons event (booo….), a gem from Moscow turns up in my inbox in the form of Clare Lopeman.  Well, actually, Clare is British and has been living in Moscow for two years and most recently showed as part of British Council's British Designs Day at Russian Fashion Week (apparently there are several fashion weeks in Moscow…).   Lopeman is a CSM BA grad who has freelanced for a number of brands, finally settling on establishing the BA Fashion programme at the British Higher School of Art and Design in Moscow… alongside that, she has set up her studio and made her debut that reflects the culture clash between her Moscow surroundings and her British design background.

Her A/W 10-11 collection took vintage patterns from a classic Soviet dressmaking book '100 Dresses' which reflect French 50s couture silhouettes and shapes and transferred them to body conscious pieces with a lot of complex construction in some cases.  (I may have to email Lopeman to probe her about this intriguing pattern book which wasn't Google-able…)  If I hadn't known they were dress patterns, I was thinking they might have been aeronautical or mechanical ship drawings, what with the rigorous technicalities of the dresses, which are then further emphasised by the Soviet-era eye testing glasses, reminiscent of the old fashioned ones we all had to use for checking our prescription (urgh..enough with the myopic woes…!).  I love how the patterns from her inspiration source don't ever overwhelm the dresses themselves, allowing Lopeman's construction and precision toe shine through.  I also love the subtle palette seen best in the gradiated grey peeking out from the inside of a cape…

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Reading her inspiration list, I was also elated to find Howard Sochurek's LIFE magazine photograph story from 1959 depicting Christian Dior's New Look hitting the streets of Moscow as one of them.  Lopeman speaks of a British girl in Moscow and the fusions of cultures which I guess is why she relates to this seminal photostory, where alienation, curiosity and sharp contrasts are all at play.  The political and social significance of this story of course can't be ignored either (this site analyses it quite well…).  I'm hoping we see a few more collections of Moscow through Lopeman's English eyes…

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(Images from Rambling of Glamour Addict)

32 Replies to “Spying through English Eyes”

  1. i love this stuff… there are moments i do think of other english designers like Mary Katrantzou and Holly Fulton, but then there are moments of thing I have not seen before and the glasses are killer… I LOVE THEM.

  2. Incredibly executed dresses the details on some of them remind me of a navigation chartβ€šΓ„ΒΆwell patterns are navigation charts but for the body no?

  3. What a breath of fresh air ! your designs are truly breathtaking and so original ! a Soviet Songbook full of suprises and delights to set the imagination racing .
    Congratulations.

  4. Holly Fulton is incredible. Who else makes jewellery, accessories, art and fashion with such a connected aesthetic across all those platforms? However, this isn’t derivative of her. I’d say Lopeman’s collection has a more deconstructed feel with its own starting points and references. Admittedly both designers have an interesting mix of strong architectural print executed with an amazing lightness of touch, resulting in very wearable, sophisticated, beautifully feminine clothes… but what could be better than that? Love it!!

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