London-based brand Antipodiumis a known favourite of the fashion pack, artists, photographers, DJs and celebrities. Their cool contemporary cuts, addictive prints and arty influences are what make them the go-to label for the hottest trends and seasonal wardrobe staples. This spring summer 2013 the brand continues its playful yet sophisticated aesthetic, with creative director Geoffrey J. Finch‘s imaginative take on futuristic feminism; ‘How to Affect Robots and Influence People‘ – taking inspiration from technology, taboo subjects such as cosmetic reconstruction and the humanisation of science. Focussing on five wardrobe power classics, the collection refreshes each one with luxurious fabrics, unexpected textures and all the signature Antipodium wit and wearability.
We caught up for five minutes with Geoffrey to find out more about the spring summer collection, his three signature pieces and discover that Dolly Parton would be his ideal dream client.
What inspired you to design your Spring Summer 2013 collection: ‘How to affect Robots and Influence People?
The resort 2013 ‘Emoji’ collection was all about synthetic emotions and it got me on a techno-bent. I became obsessed with “affective computing” (robots with emotions) and plastic surgery delivering android-like perfection. The spring summer 2013 collection looks at these colliding worlds of perfection and malfunction.
There’s a sense of androgyny about the collection with the hard lines, shirt collars and tailored blazers. Was this intentional, or does this play into your theme?
This season I really wanted to examine alpha garments – the white tee, the blazer, the party dress, the biker jacket – and then reboot them and really play with their proportions. Call it Siri’s spin on sartorial classics!
One of the features of the collection is the surgical markings on two of the shirts. Why did you decide to use these, and do you think this is a message that will strike a cord with women?
We’ve had a marvellous response to the Markings print! Every season we collaborate with artists on our prints and this season it was all about artists of different varieties. This particular gem is by the genius, Dr Tim Goodacre, president of BAPRAS (British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons). In a big, bad Kardashian world why not look at plastic surgery, and its impact on our society, in greater depth?
Which are the three signature pieces of the collection?
I love the Vector dress in orange – it’s bold, modern colour and texture play at its best, the Facet skirt – a pencil skirt with a built-in fanny pack, and the Pointillize twinset – a delightfully wrong-but-right mix of lurex check jacquard and perforated cotton knitwear.
If your collection had a soundtrack, which three songs would feature prominently?
The lovely Lauren Laverne curated the music for our show. Check out these gems:
Sunbeam Melts the Hour – RM Hubbert
Her Fantasy – Matthew Dear
Do You Remember – Ane Brun
Who would you most like to dress and why?
Dolly Parton. Who wouldn’t want to dress the woman behind lines like “I’m old enough to be that boy’s lover”?
Do you have any tips for dressing this spring summer?
Expand your fabrication horizons. Embrace washed foil with nappa trim, silk Crepe de Chine and nylon power mesh, permanent pleat georgette and patent leather – you’ll feel all the more modern for it.
What are you loving in Liberty right now?
I’m a sucker for the men’s sock department.
Can you give us a hint at what to expect for Autumn Winter 2013?
My techno-bent turns towards surveillance cameras, social media and Sharon Stone (of course) with ‘Sex, Lies and CCTV’…
Shop the spring summer 2013 collection in store, and online here.
This month our shop front window displays have been paying tribute to Henri Rousseau, taking inspiration from Memphis design and Africa along the way. The presentations combine some of the latest fashion and homeware trends now available in store, and celebrate the beautiful pieces from our newly opened Arts & Crafts and Eastern Objet & Antiquities departments on the 4th floor. The result is a modern and highly graphic recreation of Rousseau’s work that has married the similarities of kinship, coloured patterns, layering and wild animals with vivid effect. An artistic display that highlights our flagship store’s arts and crafts history and connection to eastern wares.
One of the artists featured in our avant-garde window displays is sculptor and illustrator Joseph Paxton. The Welsh-born designer is known for his pensive cast bronze animal sculptures and charcoal illustrations, which he uses to evoke human emotion through focusing on each of the creature’s characteristics and movements that appeal to him. After originally getting in touch with Liberty for the 2010 Best of British Open Call, he suggested working with our talented window dressers to create a truly enthralling display that would reach out to passers by. We spoke with Joseph to find out more about his work and the inspiration behind it, who he’d like to collaborate with and what’s hot on his wishlist from Liberty.
Giraffe, bronze – limited edition of 12
What inspired you to use animals for your sculptures and illustrations?
I grew up surrounded by farmland on the borders of Wales, so I suppose I have always been around animals and nature. I instinctively depicted the living creatures I saw around me in my art as a way of expressing what was a large presence in my life, something very familiar to me. Understanding and observing nature in this way has almost become a part of who I am; depicting the living form and capturing its energy in both sculpture and drawing is now so ingrained I think it would feel strange not to do it. I find that trying to capture the energy and dynamism of a creature with a piece of charcoal or plaster feels very natural, like humming a tune. Maybe it’s something that’s innately human, interpreting and recording the sights and sounds we see around us as a way of processing our emotions and harmonising with nature.
How do you go about creating your designs, from conception to completion?
In terms of the sculptures, this is often a fairly haphazard process for which I can’t say there is any real formula. Sometimes after an undefined period of subconscious and conscious thinking, and the piecing together of various forms I see, I create an image in my head of the ‘perfect’ form of say, a hound, which I want to create. I start gathering various images that express all the elements of that form as I envisage it in my head.
I am, if you like, creating a hybrid form that expresses the movements, weight and lines that I see as the essence of that certain animal, or its defining characteristics as I see them. I look for the emotion it expresses to me most strongly through its form and behaviour.
My sculptures then usually start with a welded steel framework (armature) which is pretty complex and detailed. This allows me to draw out the form in space, almost like a line drawing in three dimensions, before I start sculpting over the top using plaster and straw. The complexity of the frame allows me to build up the plaster and straw loosely, which maintains energy and dynamism in the piece whilst giving the work enough strength to support its own weight. Nearly all of my sculptures are cast into bronze, giving some permanence and strength to the fragile nature of the original sculpted material and creating a counterpoint between strength and fragility.
What materials do you like to work with?
For drawing I have always liked materials with which I can create bold and expressive lines. Charcoal has been an obvious and easy material for me since I started creating art at school; I love the variation of mark and line that can be created simply by using charcoal and a rubber. A rubber is a great drawing utensil once you have a layer of charcoal to work over. I also love to use Indian ink, using either a pipette, a sharpened stick or sometimes making my own rough version of a quill using feathers. The haphazard quality of line you get with these drawing implements gives great energy to the work, which helps the piece to take on a life of its own.
To sculpt with, I like plaster. Once mixed it dries fast and becomes solid, forcing me to work very quickly and to make bold gestures and decisions. This energy transferred from me into the material is in essence then frozen in time and becomes visible in the surface texture of the sculpture. Like molten lava that cools in motion and leaves evidence of its turbulent past.
Hang Dog & Lurcher, bronze limited editions
Growing up, did you keep any pets of your own?
We always had dogs and usually chickens which would roam free. There were doves as well as swallows which would come back from Africa every year to nest in the barns; I loved seeing the swallows coming back for the first time each year and thinking how far they had flown across the world to end up in a woodshed in Wales. Probably one of the largest influences on my love of the dog form as a subject was Mulligan, the dog who I grew up with from birth. He was an English Setter and an amazing animal.
Have you used your designs for any campaigns or worked with anyone on a project?
In 2010 I had the opportunity to design and create one of the elephants for the Elephant Parade London; London’s largest ever public sculpture exhibition. My creation, ‘Julia’s Elephant’ was outside the Royal Festival Hall for the summer before being auctioned off by Sotheby’s to raise money for the Elephant Family – a UK charity working to protect the Asian Elephants. Then in 2011 I created a work on canvas for HAIRraising, a fundraising appeal founded by John Frieda to raise money towards building new operating theatres at Great Ormond Street Hospital. My work was auctioned off by Christie’s alongside the other creations by artists such as Tracy Emin, Marc Quinn and Terry Frost.
This year I created artwork for a book project with Friends of The Earth which contains works by 20 other artists, including Turner Prize artist Jeremy Deller, Quintin Blake, poet John Hegley and comedian Stuart Lee to name a few, and will be launching some time during 2013.
I really enjoy the opportunity to work to a given brief as it’s a little different from the way I usually work. It is fun to be set a task and to give oneself new challenges out of which all sorts of ideas and processes can blossom.
Owl – original charcoal drawing
Who would you most like to work with if the opportunity arose?
I am very interested in the merging of creative processes and collaboration between artists, designers, musicians, architects and really any creative or design field. In one way or another we are all influenced by the physical world around us and I think by blurring the boundaries of our craft, we can come up with some really exciting results. I would love to work with a fashion designer to create textile prints using my dynamic charcoal or ink animal drawings, and would be interested in working with an ethical designer with a flair for bold patterns and print.
Sculpturally, I would love to work with the Southbank, placing works in locations on buildings and architectural spaces. My vision is that the works are placed just out of reach of the public as if on the edge of things, not quite in the human realm but looking on, observing, bringing a new dynamic to the space as an ‘other worldly’ presence.
If I get the chance, I would love to work alongside Japanese and African artists as I think I could learn a lot from their strong, stylistic heritage and the techniques they use in their art. I love the simplicity and economy of lines used in Japanese painting and drawing techniques.
Will your future projects involve the animal form, or is there another shape you would like your designs to take on?
Now that I live in London I do not have that same connection to the animal world and have less opportunity to observe animals in my daily life. I have found recently this has changed the way I work with the subject. I am really interested in blending the human and animal form; taking the instinctive movements and behaviours they both have, looking at their shared attributes and characteristics to create non-specific creatures. I feel that I am becoming more interested in stripping the work right back to create something more abstract, more reduced and more simplistic in its ability to portray an essence or meaning.
Hound Over Stag, limited edition print
How did you get involved with designing one of our window displays?
I first got in touch with Liberty about a year ago when they were advertising for the Best of British open call. I have always been interested in showing my sculptural works in interesting settings and environments not just the traditional white walled gallery space, and it struck me that Liberty might be interested in collaborating with a sculptor to create one of their unique window displays. It would be promoting another area of British creativity and the arts, whilst adding a unique angle to the window scheme. I like the idea of bringing art to new audiences who ordinarily might not get to see it in galleries. Originally, we had planned to use more of my large bronzes in the display. Sadly, however, we ended up having to change plans due to the large scale of my works and the limited size of the window spaces.
Where can people view and buy your work?
My sculpture ‘Sight Hound III’ is currently on display outside number one Grosvenor Square in London for another month. I have bronzes in an exhibition at a gallery in America at the moment, and until last month, I was exhibiting bronzes and drawings at the Royal West of England Academy in an international show called ‘Reigning Cats & Dogs’. All my works, including limited edition prints for sale, can be viewed on my website at www.josephpaxton.com where you can also find information on projects events and exhibitions.
Wet Lurcher & Fleigh, limited edition prints
Name three things hot on your wish list from Liberty:
I suppose given that such a large part of my work to date has focused on hounds, I should have a go at being one myself. Perhaps a Wolfhound, they look very cool, seem pretty amiable characters, are fast, get to play outside a lot with their friends, do a lot of resting and plenty of eating. It sounds like a dog’s life to me.
Joseph Paxton’s designs are available to buy from www.josephpaxton.com or by emailing email@example.com. Those wishing to join his mailing list and to receive invitations to exhibitions and can also email this address with the subject line: ‘Joseph Paxton Mailing List’.
Last month, Liberty was invited to take part at a very special event in New York celebrating the very best of British. For four days only, Visit Britain and British Airways hosted “The Big British Invite”, taking over a 15,000 square foot space in the heart of Soho, Manhattan and giving New Yorkers an enticing glimpse of Britain’s finest cuisine, fashion, nightlife and cultural establishments. Amongst a host of notable British brands, including five star English afternoon tea experts The Sanderson Hotel, Liberty provided a brilliantly British experience with its renowned scarf styling tutorials. We caught up with Liberty scarf stylist Hannah Matthews, who was lucky enough to represent the store at this exciting event.
“When I first came to Liberty and learned to style scarves over three years ago, I never would have dreamt that one day I’d be sent across the world to give New Yorkers a taster of the Scarf Hall experience. It was a real honour to be asked to go, but I didn’t quite realise how incredible the event was going to be until I got to the Soho address, welcoming everyone in with a red carpet entrance! As guests arrived at the warehouse space just off Broadway they were greeted with a cocktail and boarding card, before being invited to try out the British Airways First Class cabin. Soul star Estelle then called guests to departure, and they began their journey through the myriad of British delights with delicious refreshments along the way.
After stopping for a carrot meringue at the Sanderson’s Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea, a whisky cocktail at Worship Street Whistling Shop and a dance in the Silent Rave Room, New Yorkers were more than ready to learn some scarf styling tips with us in our beautiful Liberty space. We transformed our area to capture the essence of our infamous Scarf Hall and flower entrance, complete with antique features and the delicate scents of wild flowers. In fact our home-grown visitors, including Estelle, fashion icon Alexa Chung and Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens commented on how our Liberty space made them long for home!
Upon arriving at destination Liberty, visitors were invited to try some of our famous styles, including “The Liberty Bow Tie”, “The Liberty Head Scarf” and “The Liberty Wrap”. However, the clear favourite among the famously fashion savvy New Yorkers was the flamboyant “Rose” styled as a headband. Even the men seemed to prefer this style above all others! So confident were the visitors in learning the styles, that they were soon freestyling, with some very interesting results…
I felt so incredibly lucky to be involved in such an innovative and fun event that represented modern Britain in a truly refreshing way, and Liberty couldn’t have been more at home alongside its fellow British pop-ups. New Yorkers experienced Liberty’s rich heritage, our unrivalled prints, and signature styling, amongst a variety of wonderful British highlights. A perfect showcase for Liberty’s offbeat yet luxuriously quintessential Britishness.”
Liberty’s Managing Director, Ed Burstell was chosen by The Big British Invite as one of the campaign’s launch ambassadors. Watch the video of Ed inviting visitors over to visit London and our historic store below.