From The Artistry of 3D, now we’ve got fashion with a futuristic edge. With graphic shapes and neon colours, we’re pushing forward to the era of science fiction, the kind of world which first spawned the idea of 3D printers.
As soon as I knew I was going to write about 3D printers, I knew I wanted to put together a futuristic, scifi-inspired outfit. This immediately made me think of graphic, brightly coloured shapes and prints. My mum passed down this Claude Montana dress a while ago, but I’ve always been too terrified to wear it because of the fluorescent colour, but for this it was perfect, reminiscent of The Fifth Element almost. I accessorised with extremely shiny black nails and Office shoes, trying to bring an element of plasticity to the whole thing, being the material which is firstly one of the most commonly used in 3D printing, and also one of the most popular materials of modern times. The gold Accessorize cuffs were added partially to stop it all looking like Halloween dress up, and partially for the graphic edge they added.
I wanted to play with the editing of the photos, partially inspired by Nick Knight’s iPhone editing, and so (after downloading about six different Glitch apps) I settled on using Glitch.Simply to bring a distorted post-modern edge to the whole thing, as it was ridiculously easy to use (hence the name), and also created a kind of ‘printer error’ effect that I thought fit very well with the theme. Especially as this look was put together and shot quite hastily due to my exams, I thought it’d be good to try and add something different to the look through the editing process.
I really like this outfit – I think however I’d maybe want to develop it slightly more before it would be a very good ‘night out’ outfit, possibly by experimenting with different shoes and nail colours, and looking at other accessories. Even so, I’m very glad I finally put the amazing dress to use!
This look was shot in South Kensington by my lovely friend Noor, who’s been an absolute star at helping me out (slightly easier as she lives in the same building as me!).
Even though I’ve finished exams, I’m still bogged down by project work at the moment, meaning that things are still a bit rough around the edges – but I now have time to actually do something, which is an improvement on last week! Hopefully in the next few weeks the quality of my posts will be improving massively, as I’ll have far more free time on my hands, so you can look forward to that.
3D printing has opened so many new doors in the scientific world. From everything from engineering to medicine, now scientists can create new parts for machines and people at the click of a button, drastically reducing manufacturing costs (once you’ve bought the ridiculously expensive 3D printer, of course). But now prices are dropping, and you can even find instructions online on how to build a basic 3D printer in your home, and of course, there’s always the concept of renting or borrowing a 3D printer and printing a 3D printer with it. Either way, this once elusive and science fiction object is become more and more of a reality day-by-day.
Of course, there have been a large amount of worries surrounding the fact that is becoming increasingly easy to download plans for anything off the internet, and print it yourself. Will people just stop buying things completely, and high street shops go into a downward economic spiral? It seems unlikely, although there’s sure to be a shift towards more personalised products as it becomes easier and cheaper for companies to produce one off items through 3D printing.
But what about people printing things they can’t find in high street stores – things like guns, and other weapons. Already there is a group based in America called Defense Distributed who have created a working, fully 3D printed plastic gun. It’s a worrying thought that nearly anyone could print out a working gun that would be undetectable to metal detectors (legally Defense Distributed have to insert a block to metal into all their guns so that they can be detected by metal detectors, but who’s to say that every person who 3D prints a gun will be so law abiding).
But whilst there’s been a lot of worry surrounding the danger of 3D printing, and excitements surrounding the technical and scientific breakthroughs it could bring, there’s been less focus on the amazing new format it gives to artists. For the first time in history you can create a picture-perfect sculpture – scan anything you like in, and print it exactly as it. What photography was for the visual arts, 3D printing is for sculpture. And just like photography did, it opens up new avenues; both by opening up sculpture to a whole new realm of artists, but also through the ability to edit sculpture. Instead of working for months to try and create a perfect representative of the real world, 3D printing allows artists to capture reality instantly, and then do with it what they will – destroy it completely and build it up even more. Whether it be digital customisation before you print the sculpture, or whether you print as is and edit after, it opens up a whole new world within sculpture that the other visual arts experienced at the dawn of photography. And look how many amazing artists of the past century were photographers – will the coming century spawn it’s own generation of 3D printing artists?
There are some who are already using this new material. Nick Knight and SHOWstudio have used 3D scanning in many of their projects, both 3D printing the final images, or purely using the scans themselves to create strange ‘more-than-2D, less-than-3D’ images, things which are almost fractal, but one dimension up. Iris van Herpen created the first 3D printed garments to grace the catwalk. There are so many artists from so many walks of life now using 3D printing as their medium, and their numbers will only grow as it becomes more accessible.
3D printing is literally something out of a science fiction novel, and although it brings with it so many opportunities, it also brings a large amount of responsibility. Like all exciting and new technologies, it is in the end not defined by the technology itself, but by the way people use it. Let’s try and make sure we use it well, and for the right reasons.
This blog post was inspired by the Science Museum’s ‘3D: Printing the Future‘ exhibition (hence the subtitle), which you should definitely go check out, but if you can’t they’ve got lots of very interesting information about the whole thing right here. It was also partially inspired by Nick’s use of 3D scanning and printing in his work – it really opened my eyes up to a whole new way of using the medium. Iris van Herpen’s 3D printed clothing also got me so excited, and I wish I could have seen the show it was all in! However, there are many many 3D artists out there, and I do not know all of them, and couldn’t talk about each and everyone one anyway. If there are any out there whose work you really admire and love, please leave a comment below about them, as I’d love to learn more!
On the more general things: I’m back! My exams are over! (Although I’ve still got a big project going on, which is why things may still be a little rushed and hasty at the moment). It’s all very exciting, and now I will be getting back to regular posting, and I’ll also hopefully be uploading some of my older work (essays, poems, etc) soon, so you have some new stuff to peruse.
So, the Diesel Pre-Fall campaign just came out, and you’ll never guess who’s in it! (Or, well, you probably will given that I’m posting it here, but anyway.) ME! It’s all rather exciting, and a massive privilege to be part of, especially it being Nicola Formichetti’s first fully-formed ready-to-wear collection, and the photos are by the amazing Nick Knight.
It was such a great shoot to work on, with so many lovely people – both the other models, the make-up, hair and nails team who worked in tandem with the stylists to keep us looking beautiful, and pretty much EVERYONE (especially the catering team, cause DAMN the food was good!). And I’m so happy and excited with how the photos came out – inspired by the classical, with Michelangelo edges, but with a ‘pop-Picasso’ take on the whole thing. As Formichetti puts it, it’s neo-neo-classical.
The images are from here, where you can find a few more close-ups which I didn’t include (partially because you can already see them in the bigger pictures, and partially because, well, this is a blog about me, hah).
Credit can be found at the link above, or in the read more below.
Moving on from from the psychological in Emotional Evolution last Sunday, we now have the physical (well, kinda – the fashionable!). Here, the fashion focuses on organic themes evolving into a urban emphasis (London, of course). Inspired by the urban, there’s more streets brands involved (in fact, this outfit is entirely my own wardrobe, unlike most of the previous looks, with the exception of Imperial Geek Chic which was also all me). It draws on both the natural, with earthy tones, but painting them in a new light, with modern styles and city skylines.
My first thought for this outfit was something exceedingly natural – all earthy tones, and I’d shoot in a park and all that. I even went as far to put pieces of the outfit together before I realised it wasn’t right. The outfit was fine, but it didn’t fit. This was about evolution, not simply ‘nature’.
With this in mind I changed the shoot and outfit almost entirely. I kept the earthy tones, but offset them with splashes of colour and modern patterns; the stripey D&G bra, the embroidery and gold belt on the Punkyfish combats, and the print on the Iron Fist shirt. I moved away from natural flowing shapes to ones more edgy and urban, and brought in some ferocity with my distressed denim Ash heels, which was also added to via my Una Burke leather cuff and Bamford leather bracelet. The set changed from a purely organic nature setting to that of an urban garden.
All in all, the final look was one I’m very proud of. It had the organic and natural edge, but evolved into an urban setting. I’m very much looking forward to finding an occasion to wear it!
I’m so happy with how this look turned out, especially given how unsure I was about the outfit and setting (I was making changes right up till the very last moment, and had hardly planned the makeup and hair at all). The pictures were taken by my awesome sis Tiffany, who resides on twitter and Instagram, and the set was my home (the front ‘garden’ and roof ‘garden’ although there’s no actual grass anywhere).
I also want to give a quick shout out to Rebel State (also on twitter and Instagram!), as that’s where I got the Iron Fist t-shirt, which I love to bits, and it’s also where I get the majority of the awesome stuff I wear day-to-day. I love them because they stock lots of different brands, but all in line with the type of stuff I like – street style with a dark edge. I’m sure you’ll see more stuff I got from them on here over time, as it’s pretty much where I go whenever I’m in Camden.
In Metamorphosis on Sunday we looked into the bizarre yet beautiful way iridescent blues are created in the Morpho butterfly, and how the complex form and style of nature could inspire modern artists and artisans such as Shaun Leane. Still keeping with Shaun Leane, with a look inspired by the bespoke gold beetle brooch he created for SHOWstudio, we move away from the cool blues to the fierce and fiery reds and golds, from something delicate and purely organic, to something strong and alchemical, more representative of the jewellery and metals themselves than the nature which inspires it.
When I first heard about the ‘SHOWcabinet: Shaun Leane’ exhibition it was being promoted with the image of a golden beetle. Because of this, my journey to find the perfect outfit initially centred purely around metallics, the hints of which can still be seen in the golden accents of the final look (and the slightly less visible golden eyeshadow and nails!).
However, although I rooted through my mum’s closet and tried on all the garish gold and other traditional metallic pieces, nothing seemed to quite fit with the mood I wanted to achieve – something with an animalistic ferocity yet elegance, but also a hint of modern urban chic – and the only thing I was sure of were the KG black and gold heels, whose height (yet elegance) also gave me a kind of feminine ferocity which fit in perfectly to the look.
Because I was originally looking for only golden metallic tones I didn’t originally look at the red iridescent wrap-around top, because I was thinking of basing the outfit off a more vibrant/garish metallic piece. When I realised the kind of mood I wanted to portray, however (instead of simply basing my choices on colours) I realised it was the perfect fit, especially with the almost serpentine red-and-gold striped ties. The realisation of the theme also lead me towards gold accents, such as the Accessorize gold cuffs, to create a sleek darker shape which used the gold as a highlighter.
Although the look was in some ways inspired by the natural world and organic forms, it also had to have a modern elegance represented by Leane’s work. From the look, the slicked back hair and tailored Westwood mini skirt contributed to that, and the chic urban setting of Knightsbridge completed it. This is possibly one of my favourite outfits yet – I almost wore it to the opening itself, but the tininess of the miniskirt and the height of the heels changed my mind. Still, I’d love to wear this outfit out at some point, maybe with the additional accessories of Leane’s own work – I’m pretty sure it’d come in at the definition of a ‘manneater’!
I know I’ve just said it, but GOD I love this outfit/look! Now I just need a damn excuse to wear it somewhere (or I’ll end up going to Sainsbury’s dressed like this, which may be fun, but will just make bringing back the groceries very tricky).
The photos were taken by the amazing Biju, who is not only a damn great photographer, but also a kick-ass writer! Some people just have all the luck, hah. You can find her on twitter and tumblr and keep up with all the awesome stuff she does.
My exams are coming up now, so although I will still be posting, expect shorter and maybe shoddier posts over the next fortnight or so. However, once exams are over? It’ll be high fashion blogging time! (Probably.)
For millennia nature has been a source of inspiration for humanity and the artists within it. From cave paintings depicting the birds and the beasts to fertility sculptures celebrating the human form, from the earliest of times we’ve received artistic inspiration from the organic forms and beings surrounding us, to a point that many early religions were based around the worship of the natural world. And really, who can blame them? Even now, with scientific explanations for so many of the wonders of the world so many people’s belief in a divine architect stems from the mindboggling creativity and complexity of the forms that surround us. Of course, whether or not you want to invoke the celestial, the science behind some of the beauty has it’s own elegance.
Take the colour of iridescent butterflies for instance, such as the Morpho butterfly.
If you haven’t had the luck to see one of these in the flesh, then you’ve most definitely seen pictures of them before, or other creatures with the same iridescent colouring. It’s easy to wonder how the hell such brilliant blues can be created through pigment alone, and that’s because there is no pigment involved. In fact, the colour of the Morpho butterfly’s wings come from the physical structure – lots of overlapping scales with grooves in – as the wings themselves are actually colourless and transparent. How could transparent scales create such vivid colours without pigment is obviously the next question, and here the answer is physics! (Although technically, physics is the answer to everything.) To try and explain it simply, the grooves in the scales cause the light to reflect off the scales at slightly different distances, means the peaks and troughs of the waves (time to remember your GCSE physics!) start to add up, causing what is called constructive interference, which causes iridescence (as it makes the light brighter and therefore the butterfly wings shinier!). The reason the butterfly appears blue is because of the spacing on the groves of the butterfly scales, which correspond to the wavelength of blue light (or well, half the wavelength, but the spacing is equal to half the wavelength).
But I digress – but that’s kind of the point. The sights and science of the natural world are so inspiring it’s hard for me now not to go on another spiel about bioluminescence. Of course, it’s easy for everyone to get inspired by nature, but it takes a true artist to be able to communicate the beauty of the world without simply replicating it, and Shaun Leane is one of the few who can do it well. Not only is he inspired by organic forms, but as an artisan jeweller he also works with organic materials, which adds a whole new element to the elemental inspiration. The new SHOWcabinet exhibition demonstrates this all, not only showing bespoke pieces of his work, but also artwork, fashion pieces and natural specimens that inspired them. From emeralds in their natural forms, to feather Philip Treacy headdresses, an actual live snake, and a Damien Hirst butterfly painting, the sources of inspiration unlocks the story behind the showpieces. It’s an inspiring exhibition, and one that I would definitely recommend that you go see, whether your interest is purely aesthetic or deeper. Just be careful not to become broke from wanting to buy it all!
If you’re based in or around London you should totally go check out the SHOWcabinet: Shaun Leane exhibition, which is held at SHOWstudio (19 Motcombe, SW1X 8LB), which just in general has awesome stuff going on in it. Even if you can’t go there (if you’re not based in London, or whatever) you should check it out online. If you like Shaun Leane‘s work, or are interested in finding out more about his life and artistic process there’s a wonderful interview of him by the fabulous Lou Stoppard which I used as a primer to write this piece.
Pretty much everything which goes on at SHOWstudio is awesome (although I may be slightly biased), so you should follow them on twitter/tumblr/facebook and also check out their website. I love seeing all the exhibitions and things which go on there – I haven’t been to a bad one yet, and everyone there is so lovely it’s ridiculous.
Following on from Sunday’s ‘The Fractal Universe‘ post, this shoot was also inspired by the concept of the elegant Universe. Elegance is understated and simply, whilst being perfectly coiffed and composed, and that was exactly what I wanted this look to be like. The universe is not elegant because it tries to be, it just is, and that was what I wanted to convey.
Right from the start I knew this was going to be a dress look because of the needed simplicity yet striking nature of the outfit – I just had no idea which dress. The right dress – if cut well and with the right fabrics – can be utterly simple and yet completely captivating. It was stuck for a while on this, it being a bit of a Goldilocks and the Three Bears problem: this one’s too complex, this one’s too simple, and this one just isn’t simple enough!
When I did find the centrepiece of the outfit though, I realised how perfectly it fit. My Edina Ronay dress, handed down from my mother, was sleek and bias cut, having that form and shape which accentuated natural beauty. The spirals burned out of the vibrantly coloured velvet panels suited the fractal theme perfectly (as although I dearly wish I had fractal patterned clothing, it is unfortunately not so), drawing together that mix of simplicity and sophistication I was looking for, mirroring the elegance of the artistry of the universe.
Keeping with the understated look, once I had decided on the dress I wanted the other pieces the accentuate but not over complicate the look. The creased black silk shawl did that, bringing a complimentary texture to the outfit, but not taking away from the dress itself. With the skimpy straps and lack of jewelry the dress definitely did need the shawl – otherwise my arms and collarbones felt far too bare, and just like expansion plains of white.
For an elegant look, heels are nearly always the way to go, as they make your legs look longer, and at least for me make me stand much better. My mother’s brown Billi Bi heels worked perfectly, once again being mute enough to not detract from the outfit.
Overall, I think the outfit really did show effortless elegance that the universe exudes, and the pseudo-fractal effect of the spirals on the dress tied in with the fractal forms of nature.
So this time for ease I’ve already linked the designers of the garments within the post! However, none of the items I’m wearing are on sale any longer, and with regards to the black silk shawl I have no idea where it’s from (and it doesn’t have a label).
The shoot was shot in the Holy Trinity Brompton gardens in South Kensington, which are absolutely lovely this time of year. The photographer was my amazing friend Noor M Mulheron who, shock horror, has neither a twitter nor instagram(!) but whom I’m sure you’ll see on here again (seeing as I live in the same building as her and also as she’s great at that photography lark).
Think about the coastline of Britain. Yeah, I know, it’s probably not your choice of scintillating subject (unless you’re a geologist), but hopefully that’s going to change. Now, if you were to measure the coastline of Britain with a 200 km ruler, you’d get a value around 2400km. If you measure it with a 50km ruler, you add about 1000km on to that number – the coastline is now 3400km. And as the ruler gets smaller, the coastline gets bigger and bigger, all the way to infinity. To put it in mathematical terms, as the length of the ruler tends to zero, the length of the coastline tends to infinity.
This sounds bizarre – am I really trying to say that if you measured the coastline of Britain with perfect accuracy that it would have infinite length? Yes. Yes I am, however counterintuitive that may sound. And funnily enough, the coastline of Britain isn’t some sort of anomaly of nature – shapes like these show up everywhere, from clouds to bark to lightening strikes. They’re called fractals, and are characterised in ‘the broken, wrinkled and uneven shapes of nature’ (in Mandelbrot’s words, who was actually the person to coin the word ‘fractal’), and on a deeper level the characteristic of self-similarity within an object, where smaller part of that object look the larger bits.
To fully understand this, it’s probably best to give an example of a classic fractal, the Koch snowflake. For the Koch snowflake you first start with a normal equilateral triangle. Then you put a triangle a third of the side in the middle of each of the edges, then a triangle a third of the size of that triangle along all the new sides. Lather, rise and repeat an infinite amount of times, and you have the Koch snowflake! Magnify any part of the Koch snowflake, and you see the pattern at the macro scale repeated at the micro.
Fractals are far more representative of the real world than the traditional ideal Euclid forms. They are not perfect in the sense of being smooth and impeccably formed – they are perfect in their complexity, in their pitted and splintered nature. From the minimalist Sierpinski’s gasket, to the (initially apparently simple) infinitely intricate Mandelbrot set, fractals are mesmerising, and oddly familiar. Once you’ve got the concept in your head, you start seeing fractals everywhere, both in the physical world, and in art. Complex subtext in literature doesn’t have a linear relationship, it has a decidedly fractal one. More than one dimension but less than two, fractals have a kind of convoluted cohesion that springs up everywhere in nature, and lends itself equally to both the scientific and artistic eye.
Fractals are everywhere around us – in the sky, in the plants in your garden, even in your food. (Believe it or not, broccoli is fractal – that’s why smaller broccoli florets look like shrunken heads of broccoli!) You’ve probably seen fractals hundreds of times, and maybe even admired their beauty, whether it be appearing in the bark on trees or in clouds in the sky, and learning and understanding the mathematics behind the art just makes it even more mesmerising. Learning the mechanics behind the artistry of the universe does nothing to detract from it’s beauty, as some would like to claim, but simply adds to it. Ignorance, in this case, is most definitely not bliss; knowledge is.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, I strongly recommend ‘Introducing Fractals: A Graphic Guide‘, which was one of the first books/comics I read explaining the subject, and was such a great form of media to get into fractals via – it’s definitely a subject in which the use of images helps out! (I also recommend ‘Introducing … : A Graphic Guide’ series in general – they’re very good at explaining a subject in brief without overly simplifying the concept!)
Also, if you’re loving the beauty behind fractals, there are so many mesmerising videos out there which zoom in on the border of the Mandelbrot set which I could watch for hours – here’s one I found quite quickly on Google. I must also give credit to Theo Emms (who’s does theoretical physics with me, and lives in the same halls) for the enlightenment that broccoli is fractal!
This blog post was inspired by the topics I babbled on about in the recording for the fashion video for The Elegant Universe editorial which just came out (and I’m the star of – let’s not forget to mention that!), most of which got cut out in the final video (as I babbled on for over an hour!). If you love the influence of science on art, and vice versa, you should definitely check out the editorial – it’s in V magazine, with so many amazing people who worked on it. Nick Knight shot it, Amanda Harlech styled, Sam McKnight was on the hair, Peter Philips did the make-up, Marian Newman did the nails, and last but not least, Kev Stenning did the 3D scans (yep, there are 3D scans!).
So, today was the release of an editorial I’m in! It’s called ‘The Elegant Universe‘ and published in V magazine, and was shot by Nick Knight, and styled by the lovely Amanda Harlech (and then there’s so many other awesome people who worked on it – Sam McKnight, Marian Newman – pretty much everyone was awesome).
It’s really inspired by the artistry and elegance of mathematics and beauty, and vice versa – how maths and science turn up in art. It was such an amazing thing to shoot – firstly because I love everyone on the SHOWstudio team & co (they’re like some sort of fashion family to me), so I was comfortable with everyone and in my element, but also because (as you’ve probably realised by now) the junction between science and art is my element. If you watch the video, everything I babble on about in the video is straight from my head, no prompts or practice.
You should definitely go check it out – not least because this weeks posts are sort of inspired by the themes that inspired the shoot (or at least the tangents that I managed to babble on about, not all of which made the cut for the video). Also, because it’s turned out really well, and for all you geeks – there are 3D scans involved! It’s for both the science and the art nerds!
Geek chic is a look that has been done many times, and all too often seems to revolve around a pair of glasses and a button-up shirt. Although I wanted to keep elements of this, I also wanted to portray the modern ‘geek’, someone who is more than just books and libraries, someone who I would identify with, and whose outfit I would want to wear. I also didn’t want the look to be too androgynous or masculine as too often intelligent women are seen as intelligent despitetheir femininity, whereas in fact many are both intelligent AND feminine – one does not negate the other.
Even though the official colour of Imperial College London is purple, we’ve got navy blue everywhere, and my deep imperial blue Uniqlo shirt was one of the first pieces I knew I wanted to include, accessorising with my brass feather necklace (a charity shop find). Initially I was going to pair this up with a pair of dark trousers – but I own mainly jeans, and as soon as I tried that ensemble on I knew it wasn’t going to work. After being stuck for a while, I opened up my cupboard to browse, and as soon as I saw the black pleated school-style Topshop skirt I knew it was meant to be.
As always, it was then the eternal question of what shoes to wear – heels to make it classy, DMs to punk it up, Converse to make it fun. In the end, I wanted to go with a strong feminine edge, so it was my (surprisingly comfy) lace up heels.
The whole look ended up being quite a slick/glam geek chic look, which I liked – it most definitely wasn’t the stereotype of the physics student stuck in the library, but the type of girl who can is intelligent and attractive, fashionable and bookish – like geek girls most definitely are.
Once again, most of the stuff I’m wearing is no longer available in stores; the Uniqlo shirt and Topshop skirt are both from previous seasons, although I’m sure you can find similar garments in store now. The brass feather necklace was a charity store find, so I have no idea where that’s from, and the heels are from Office, but from at least five years ago (if you find any like them, please tell me as they’re falling apart and I want new ones!). Finally, the backed seamed tights were from trusty old M&S who are really great when it comes to that sort of thing.
We (meaning me and the fabulous Freya, who you should definitely follow on twitter and instagram) shot this look out and around Imperial, in an area colloquially known as ‘Albertopolis’, which encompasses the Albert Hall and the surrounding areas such as the museums. We were very lucky with the weather – about half an hour before we shot this in the dazzling sun it was raining! It’s such a great area to shoot in – there’s so much great architecture, and even the brickwork is fabulous. There’ll definitely be future shoots done around there, both because of the beauty, and because it’s right around the corner from my halls!