I've said it before, and I'll say it again... being a fashion geek is a pretty important part of getting anywhere in this industry. And the very best way to increase your geekiness is to find someone with their own particular kind of geekiness and get them to share it with you. So it was that in mind on very rainy morning last week, I spent a couple of hours with designer Christian Blanken, who not only has his own label which sells at Harrods and shows at LFW, but has also worked with American design stalwarts including Michael Kors and Diane Von Furstenberg. Blanken is currently working on a book, which he's hoping to publish next year, which will be an anthology of modern sportswear. The tome, sure to become a fixure on the coffee table of many a fashion devotee, will trace the development of easy, wearable, revolutionary design from Chanel and Vionnet right up to the likes of Alexander Wang today.
|Blanken in his showroom|
|Great silver trousers in Christian Blanken AW12 (image from catwalking.com)|
|Christian Blanken SS12 (from catwalking.com) You can buy online here or in Harrods|
I don't want to ruin Christian's book for you. He is currently holing himself up at Central Saint Martin's library in every spare moment he has between commuting to and from Rome (where he works on various design projects) and working on his next own label collection. So here is a taster (in his own words) of some of the earlier designers (from 20s through to 40s/50s) he'll be covering- there are many, many more to get us to the present day. And there's still lots of thinking going on about who is the ultimate sportswear designer right now. Blanken says that "Alexander Wang is the most interesting proponent of modern sportswear coming out of New York. He ticks all the boxes' However, Europe is harder to pin down; 'I'm really interested in Raf Simons. It may be him, but he's very cerebral. Isabel Marant really hits a chord too. Her look is sexy, like how every girl wants to look'. I can't wait to see what Blanken decided when the finished work comes out next year, hopefully during LFW in September.
|From the research file: Chanel in her own design, beside an image from the Edwardian era.|
|Chanel with the Duke of Westminster (from chanel.com)|
|From the research files: Patou with his American competition winners|
|Making tanning glamourous (image from fr.hprints.com)|
|From the research file: Vionnet's patterns, and a small image of her working on a mini mannequin|
|A classic Vionnet bias cut design (from vogue.co.uk)|
|From the research file: Gloria Vanderbilt in Mainbocher|
|From the research file: Mainbocher inspired by Vionnet|
|From the research file: McCardell wearing one of her denim ballgowns|
|From the research file: the 'wear it any you like' monastic dress|