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>> Want to befuddle, amuse and pique curiosity from the people that pass you by in the street?  Don yourself a pair of Cooperative Designs S/S 10 legwarmers – I've not yet come up with a better term that doesn't involve unnecessary double-barrelled words.  I know some of you were desperate to get some knitted leg action and hopefully some of your emails to the Cooperative Designs girls yielded some success…

If not though, perhaps you should keep an eye out on their newly launched online store which is selling a small selection of one-off samples and pieces that form a perfect overview of the Cooperative aesthetic, mixing up seasons, sizes and styles.  You never know.. a pair of the legwarmers may end up there.  That said, there's enough to keep you occupied in their other knitted endeavours… oversized t-shirts with cut-outs, connected arm warmers, denim effect knitted playsuits, knitted bikini tops and some of their collaborative accessories work with the likes of Noel Stewart and Corrie Williamson…

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>> I'm loving that there's a lot of x activity going on at the moment.  It's a chain of never ending collaborative x's that seemingly won't stop… Sketchbook Studio x Vintage Academe x Supermarket Sarah x Tatty Devine x Mrs Jones x Kylie x Everyone else who wants to give her an x.  

In particular Sketchbook Studio, buoyant from its success at the pop-up space on Newburgh Street has moved into the ground floor of Kingly Court on Carnaby Street and has been organising exhibitions, shoots, meet-ups and a flurry of other things that involve merriment, cupcakes, drinks and good vibes a plenty.  This Sunday sees the unveiling of a collaboration between the wonderful Supermarket Sarah and my newly discovered Vintage Academe which has uprooted some its stock from its leafy Notting Hill residence to create a 70s Sunny Wall at Sketchbook's Live Studio space. Perhaps it will, plead with the sun to come back for another month or so.  Let's all shimmy down on Sunday to do a sun dance as they're holding a 'Grand Finale' event…

When: Sunday 1st August At: Ground Floor of Kingly Court off Carnaby Street, London W1B 5PW, Time: 6pm-9pm

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>> What ranks the highest in popular email subject lines that I get in my inbox?  "T-shirt Line".  I probably get twenty emails a week telling me about another new and exciting t-shirt line featuring highly unique designs but I just can't muster up that much excitement.  Yes, I did a t-shirt design for Borders and Frontiers.  Perhaps people receiving emails about that collab had the same reaction as me.  Is there such thing as t-shirt label lovin' karma?

Well I'll try and make amends with Vol I then.  Scott B. Allcorn, who has worked in the fashion biz for 15 years has now decided to put all his efforts into Vol I.  Together with print designer/illustrator Sam Cotton, they have created a range men and women's digital printed garments that are starting off with tops.  I say tops because clearly from pics, they're not yer' standard Fruits of Loom tee shape nor are they in cotton either.  Though Mr Cotton might want to rethink that to cash in on some pun-tastic posts – looking at his own website, it turns out Cotton has worked on prints for the likes of Alexander McQueen, Carolyn Massey and J.W. Anderson.  The painterly style that permeates these prints has been transferred to Vol I's first collection 'Book of Geo' a study of surface taken from the human anatomy, skins in animals and more instantly recognisable textures in fabrics. 

Digital print with all its precision and exacting requirements is only employed here to enable the fabric to drape and move but a more painterly texture has been retained as the prints were created by being painted on canvas first.  And so, a digital print tee that on paper sounds like photographic prints would be involved actually results in a more beautiful and arresting print in my mind‚Ķ 

Anatomy… A less visceral and gentler take on the Katie Eary heart t-shirt, no?

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Skins… featuring a lovely stingray skin print… I love the word 'galuchat' for stingray…

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Textures… painted into blocks or more directly, painted as folds of fabric on the hem of the shirt…

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When presented in these flat forms, the textures spreading across the tee can be seen more clearly especially with this python print that I think is probably animal print at its most subtle level…

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There are also some new tees which aren't in the lookbook… an evolution and adding of styles which probably means we're not going to get seasonal collections (not really necessary in a tee label of course…) and hopefully their online store is up soon for people to start getting a hold of these…

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Collaborations between designers and creative arts doesn't seem to want to cease and I've somehow been caught in the thick of it in the past week which very nicely creates an arc that perhaps might culminate in the Ballet Russes exhibition at the V&A or perhaps beyond that depending on what else comes up.  I've been weaving in and around the lot of them this week that has gone from Coco Chanel's eventual (hinted at in the Coco and Igor film) collaboration with Ballet Russes… which then led onto Leon Bakst's work for the Ballet Russes noted yesterday through the Erdem scarf print… and then I took a little trip to the Sadler's Wells theatre in London to revisit costumes that perhaps hold more significance now than they did when they debuted last year. 

In between all of that, you could fill it in with other noted theatre/ballet/opera collaborators such as Karl Lagerfeld carrying on the Chanel tradition by creating costumes for The Dying Swan and Viktor & Rolf for the opera Der Freischutz and on a smaller scale you have art/fashion hybrid luminaries like Benajamin Cho who did costumes for Scottish Ballet's Ride the Beasts production.  Looking to the future, a month from now, we have Rodarte's most probably resplendent 40 costumes for Darren Arronofsky's upcoming film Black Swan.  In itself, it's a genre that could be expanded upon in its entirety in great detail but I prefer to pick out the individual instances that are significant to me as a part time ballet lover and a hack whose interest in the arts seems to be fleeting and unfortunately never all-consuming. 

I therefore have not actually seen Eonnagata but the original reviews for this production in 2009 were compelling enough.  Of course as a lazy part-timer, there was never enough impetus to see it for real.  It's a pretty star studded collaboration between Canadian theatre director Robert Lepage, choreographer Russell Maliphant and the star that of course peppers my own ballet memories…Sylvie Guillem.  The production centres on the transvestite antics of the 18th century figure Chevalier d'√âon but then weaves in the Japanese onnogata, a male actors who perform female roles in Kabuki theatre.  Guillem and Maliphant therefore take on the female and male sides of this cross-dressing swordsmen.  It's a heady mix made headier by the addition of superb lighting by Michael Hulls and of course, costumes by Alexander McQueen.  It was obviously this vital cog in the production that prompted me to see the costumes in person backstage at the Sadler's Wells where Eonnagata is currently re-running for four nights only

Where the pieces come to life is of course on stage and unfortunately backstage, the wear and tear of these costumes that have toured all over the world were evident.  Still, knowing that Alexander McQueen was an admirer of Sylvie Guillem (I'm still trying to hunt down the documentary on Guillem..Sur Le Fil, where she visits McQueen in his studio…) and knowing that he made the costumes by directly draping fabric onto body to allow for movement made studying the pieces up close a treat, especially when paired with video clips of Eonnagata as well as the beautiful stills by Eric Labbe.  There were little inflexions of his own collections in the costumes that worked in tandem with the themes of Eonnagata; military jackets, billowing dramatics seen in the red cape and taut body forming seen in the reflective stripe bodysuits.

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The pieces I liked best and actually formed the bulk of the costumes were the diaphanous white robes that had structure built into them through the L-shaped sleeves and at the same time, allowed for movement.  I love that McQueen didn't just think of standalone beautiful pieces that are there for gawping but pieces that allied with Hulls' lighting and Maliphant and Guillem's movements in perfect synchronisation.

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