Electric Enchantment: Elizaveta Porodina Photography

Every time I resolve to post more, I find myself falling into a hole of work and life-stress and blogging plans seem to fall by the wayside… So it’s Sunday  it’s cold and if you’re feeling a bit worn out, here’s something beautiful and inspiring.

Elizaveta Porodina is a 24 year old Russian photographer, currently based in Munich. She shoots fine art fashion with a surreal technicolour quality to it that’s both bold and dream-like. The photos have amazing styling, often including over-sized and dramatic outfits. There’s something delicate and graceful about her images, where models are often be-decked with flowing fabric, sheer layers and roses. It’s incredibly beautiful and creative, the kind of thing I could look at all day.

Apparently she’s also a clinical psychologist. I wonder how she manages to fit her photography around that? (I am envious and intrigued  may email her to ask!). Though looking at these images, I wonder if she feels inspired by ideas about fantasy and unconscious desires?

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Eyecandy – Zhang Jingna X Mother of London

Time for something pretty! If money were no object, I’d have my entire wardrobe made by Mildred Von Hildegard, the designer of the enigmatic Mother of London. It’s all slick, asymmetrical leather with buckles, straps, studs and puffed sleeves and shoulder-pads a-plenty. Glamorous couture for a post-apocalyptic era. LA-based photographer Zhang Jingna (also known online as Zemotion) is a fierce young talent in fashion photography and for me, this collaboration is pretty close to perfection. Ethereal, ghostly and graceful, the model seems like a dark queen of the ocean. The location gives a feel of a kind of watery wasteland and the images are filled with contrast, milky whites and inky, tarry blacks. Delicious. I’ll no doubt be featuring more work from both of these fantastic creatives.

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Nange Magro’s EEG-activated dress

Inspired by modern technology and Sci-Fi and driven by a ‘passion for surrealism and obscure, alternative worlds’ , London-based designer Nange Magro created the ‘Mechapolypse‘. The futuristic ‘electronic couture creation includes a cap with an EEG chip, detecting the electrical activity of the wearer’s brain. The designer states that when the outfit changes depending on the level of concentration, which I presume means that levels of alpha waves (associated with relaxation) are being measured. Changes in activation lead to the dress’s spine lighting up and the skirt opening up, rather like an insect’s wings, to reveal a transparent latex skirt. With a bit of practice, the wearer should be able to control the dress (and perhaps avoiding revealing themselves at the wrong time!).

On her website Nange describes her fascination with the concept of garments that are ‘technological sculptures’, “Which move and are in synthesis with the person who is wearing them represents both her ideal future and passion. A garment should represent an extension of the body and brain, and not merely be a mask that aims to divide or mediate the connection between a person and the surrounding world. Clothing should be something more than skin. It should be something that we can choose to describe ourselves in our own personal way; controlling it, means a lot more than we usually think. Being conscious of our body and its surrounding environment is one of the most important issues today.”

So what’s next, underwear that disintegrates with high levels of arousal? A shirt that shocks you if you start nodding off at work? I love the Giger-esque spiked helmet and spine but I’m not sure how I feel about my dress opening and closing according to my brain-waves. I applaud the unusual hybrid of science and fashion but I think this style may just not be practical for everyday wear (and also rather open to abuse!).

Ziad Ghanem

When I think of innovative, jaw-dropping London haute-couture, I instantly think of Ziad Ghanem. The Lebanese fashion designer who set himself up in the UK 10 years ago makes some of the most incredible, beautiful and distinctive clothing I’ve ever seen. I could write a few clichés here about how he pushes the frontiers of fashion, takes new materials to extremes etc etc but it’s probably best expressed by showing you the very clothes he makes. No piece on Ghanem is without a mention of his models. His runway show is one of the few I actually have any interest in watching, involving a circus of unique characters who don his garments. In interviews he has said himself that he could make his life much easier by working to a set fashion sample size, but instead he chooses to make his outfits to fit particular people. Stars of his recent shows have included make-up artist and plus-size model Bea Sweet, voluptuous burlesque beauty Immodesty Blaize, fetish performer Marnie Scarlet and ballet dancer Helen Crawford. Far from the blank-canvas clothes-hanger models of many a catwalk show, Ghanem’s models come in all shapes and sizes. Some are heavily tattooed and pierced, some have a very distinctive look, some with an androgynous, gender-bending alien quality to them and the garments accentuate their figures and personal styles. The show has touches of the theatrical but isn’t a freak-show. Ghanem doesn’t choose his models to shock the audience or make a point about fashion, the models are his favourite people, people who love fashion and act as muses for him to build his creations around.

The S/S 2012 collection is inspired by polish film ‘Matka Joanna od aniolow’, a tale of a nun possessed by evil spirits. The collection is filled with images of virginal purity (Ghanem even uses his cherubic young niece as a model) and sexy, black wickedness.



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