Kate Sekules | April 01, 2012
Alice Smith and her husband, Lee Farmer, are known for knitwear. But not in the granny-sweater or chunky-muffler sense. Their slinky dresses are increasingly sought-after for their all-but-couture construction and edgy styling.
Having staged two runway shows since the label launched, the pair truly enjoyed expressing themselves via a static display for a change. Their window was one of the simplest and cleanest, with supersize magnifying glasses dangling around mannequins who sported wraparound wigs and extremely sloppy mani-pedis. "Pouring black paint on the fingers and toes was our twist, which the lenses distorted and magnified," Smith says. Try that with a runway model.
The challenge for the merchandising specialists at Studio XAG was to pull together a unified whole from objects by seven disparate designers: a cotton-wool lamp shade (Jy Yeon Suh), a paper suit jacket (Matthew Nicholson), etc. Participants appeared simultaneously in the annual "Future Map" exhibition curated by the London University of the Arts, a new umbrella for six art and design colleges including Central Saint Martins. "Students who get into ‘Future Map' are the best of the best," McCullough says. "The curators had trawled dozens of degree shows to find the work. We then chose seven to showcase." Studio XAG built out the "Future Map" logo-a cartoon explosion, conveniently graphic-then daubed the plywood in bright turquoise. Mutant fashion meets wacky domestic interior.
"I absolutely loved this medium," the much-lauded women's wear designer Sorcha O'Raghallaigh says. "It was a dream project to be able to expand my ideas and create my mood in a tangible space." And what a mood-symbolic, romantic, supersaturated.
Everything in the window had personal meaning: a creepy embellished mask, sparkle flowers, diamanté goats. The flowers signified the Day of the Dead. The goats paid homage to a 1973 allegorical cult film, La Montaña Sagrada. ("I'm obsessed with it right now.") The painted MDF "clouds" evoked old toy theaters. The elongated figure of the mannequin was a reference to the proportions of her graduate collection.
"More is more. All the things I love came together in a dreamy world," she says. Is it any surprise Lady Gaga is a fan?