Archive for May 13th, 2009


Sandra Backlund

May 13, 2009


The month of may might seem an odd time to talk about a designer who principally specialises in knitwear, but when I looked back at Tilda Swinton in her designs for Another magazine, I couldn’t resist putting up a slew of Sandra Backlund‘s imaginative designs.

sandra backlund 4I’ve been into her designs for a while, since I saw a compilation of them on one of my favourite knitting blogs. Knitting is a wonderful craft, which forces the person doing it to find ways to create three-dimensional objects out of a continuous line. Backlund takes the craft’s potential and runs away with it, creating amazing sculptural garments out of wool.  sandra backlund 5She is a genius at exploring the ways in which knitted fabric can be manipulated, layering and draping in ways that veer far away from the more traditional track of afghans, socks and cardigans. sandra backlund 6She also plays with volume, most often using large guages to interesting effect, or switching needle sizes and types of wool to create contrasting textures in a piece, as seen on the dress Swinton is wearing.

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She also has branched out into other materials, with glorious results. I particularly love the curves in the collar in the top left one of this grouping. Reminiscent of old lace shirt-collars.

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The ones above and below remind me of origami. It’s quite interesting to see her work with such sharp angles after all the necessary curves found in the knit pieces.

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[images via marco sabino, design milk, today and tomorrow. Others were saved on my harddrive ages ago, so I can’t identify them, apologies.]

Ok… time to trot home and start swatching chunky yarns. Maybe I’ll be able to make myself a sculptural knit of my very own by next winter!


Carmen Dell’ Orefice

May 13, 2009

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At 77, Carmen Dell’ Orefice is the oldest working model around. She had her very first Vogue cover when she was 15, and has been working ever since. I was familiar with her work in more recent editorials and ad campaigns, and had actually seen some of her older pictures, most notably the 1957 picture Avedon took of her in Paris, caught mid-leap with an umbrella suspended over her head. I had never made the connection between the two women I saw in those pictures– after all, the beautiful 70-year old must be a character model of some sort, and the looker from the 50s had to be just some girl. (Everybody knows that models simply vanish after they hit 26, right?) As a result, it’s quite interesting to go through her photos and observe how her features have matured over the years, while still remaining incredibly striking. See below for some examples.

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[Pictures via Fashion Model Directory and Models 1]


Castles in the Sky

May 13, 2009

castle in the sky

Robert McCall‘s paintings show off what is most interesting about science fiction– the challenge of taking known, given landscapes and cultural norms, and projecting the what if on it, casting one’s vision into the future and seeing what will be different, what layers will have been added to the status quo. McCall’s combination of realistic, distinctly terrestrial landscapes– no purple moons or pod people here– with his graceful, fantastical cities in the sky creates a series of fanciful images, forcing viewers to stretch their imaginations in order to grasp the sheer logistics of what they see in front of them. Or maybe I’m just overthinking and my misspent youth, spent curled up reading glorified space opera is showing. (They remind me very much of the illustrations from the jackets of the books I stole from my uncle’s childhood bedroom.) Either way, these paintings show a beautiful, very different vision of these vistas.

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mccall 6via but does it float? (Permalink is broken for some reason)

Also, I can’t link to other paintings of his, but check out his website. There are many other beautiful things to be found on there.


Night Lights

May 13, 2009

night lights

Just got in after a couple exhausting days at work. My mood had been dragging terribly while I waited for a cab to take me back home, downtown, and I passed the time by quietly catalogueing my mental list of tiny, mundane grievances– lack of lighting in cabs makes it impossible to read on the way home, cutting my commute reading time in half, photocopying all day makes wearing heels to work a painful and perilous prospect, dealing with mounds of papers gives me such dry hands and such a plethora of papercuts that my manicurist clucked in disapproval last time she saw my fingers. Boring things like that. Anyway, I finally obtained a cab, got in, vaguely tried to make conversation while trying to think of people I could whine to about the tragedy of my humdrum existence that night. Clicked through my phone and rejected prospects very self-pityingly and melodramatically. No! She would obviously be faaaar too busy to hear me whine at such an hour! Ahime! I happened to glance up right after we had passed Union Square, and suddenly, something about the vista that I encountered made me shove all the whines to the back of my minds and clamp down on them so they wouldn’t get out. Just one perfect still moment, when it seemed that all the construction workers and garbage trucks simultaneously paused for breath . No drills, no horns, not even any drunk freshmen roaming the street. Just a quiet intersection, cars silently filing past each other, perpendicular to us. Even the radio somehow seemed to have received the message, fading into nothingness for the span of two inhalations. I looked around, trying to impress this beautiful, still moment into my brain. We savoured the silence contemplatively, then the light turned red, the driver cranked the music (Led Zeppelin- Dazed and Confused) and I was jolted suddenly out of my dreaminess, more alert than at any point before. Absolved of all wanderlust and firmly reminded of my love for this city. Perhaps this augurs well for the coming day?

Image via