As the days shorten and the temperatures cool down, summer is drawing to a close with flurries of rain showers as the people trickle back into their hometowns. We are preparing for la rentrée, the period that marks the end of the official summer holidays: back to school, back to work and essentially, back to reality.
After a uniquely distanced holiday season with the added unreality of masks; we are ready to dive into the ‘new normal’ and embrace reality. Here at American Supply we are focussing our material research into eco-innovative materials: materials that are both innovative and eco-friendly, and better for the world. Last month we talked of the benefits of Cork and explained why it was one of the greenest materials around, from conception to farming through to final production.
This month we present a brand new material in our library, that we are affectionately referring to as Air Noodles! Its synthetic fibers are 100% recyclable, assuring its virtuous end life, whilst it is hypo-allergenic, dust-free, contaminant-free, extraordinarily durable and non-toxic. The material has a tremendous form memory, and elasticity, with the ability to sustain weights of up to 140 kilograms repeatedly and still bounce back to shape. With its unique visual form and noodley structure created via an extrusion of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), it has advantages reserved for both rubbery and plastic materials.
Air Noodles are used in the bedding industry due to there durability, resilience, elasticity, and form memory, though we imagine them in all manner of set-design, window backdrops, and POS applications due to there fantastically unusual form and qualities. The hand is soft and non-sticky making them also ideal for packaging or innovative, luxury soft furnishings.
Contact us to make an appointment to see our labyrinthine Air Noodles in all their noodly glory!
I don’t do fashion. I am fashion. Gabrielle Chanel
On July 16th 2018 The Palais Galliera fashion museum in Paris closed for major refurbishment, including the renovation of its previously innaccesible vaulted basement, which once opened will double the size of the exhibition space possible. The work was generously supported by an exclusive sponsorship form the House of Chanel, so it is fitting that the grand re-opening this October 1st will see the first retrospective exhibition dedicated to Gabrielle Chanel herself, titled Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto !
When Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel opened her first boutique in Deauville in 1912, she set out to revolutionize the fashion world with her own vision, which was truly radical marking the beginning of her manifesto. Her first womenswear, incorporated the famous marinière (sailor’s top), using a mix of affordable jersey and tricot, which had only been used for men’s underwear. It was to become a recurring theme in her work, with a desire to liberate the female body from constriction and voyeurism. Aside from reappropriating menswear into her collections, she deconstructed her skirt suits by removing the shoulder pads and strictness, with darts for the bust, and worked with her couture clients to enable them to manoeuvre in their jackets with ease and without exposing their bodies. The Chanel Skirt Suit became, and still is, an iconic staple for the brand.
Two of her most famous creations, the 2.55 shoulder bag, and Chanel No.5 perfume, will be represented in the show, with No.5 given a whole room. The 2.55 is a must-have item for women the world over which when released revolutionised the way that women carried bags. By taking inspiration from army bags, Gabrielle introduced the shoulder strap to high society, giving women back their arms and hands!
She was a force to be reckoned with, and before inventing the LBD – the Little Black Dress – in 1920, Chanel vowed, while observing an audience at the opera, that she would dress all women in black. The LBD is now a staple in all wardrobes, and we couldn’t imagine life without it!
With the traditional fashion calendar in complete disarray, designers are trying to make sense of this unique moment we are all going through, with new creative propositions in reaction to the situation. With the menswear presentations cancelled in June, Couture became, fittingly, our first experience of fashion’s lived creative response to the pandemic. There could be no better first response than fashion’s most innovative voice: Haute Couture!
Chanel presented a streamlined Autumn/Winter 2020 collection of 30 looks – less than half of Spring/Summer 2020 – celebrated in a beautiful film showing the clothes in movement. The collection was dedicated to the socialite ladies that the late Karl Lagerfeld would accompany to Le Palace nightclub. In memory of Lagerfeld, but also in memory of nightclubs and nightlife, something we have all been missing since mid-March. Featuring wonderful floral embroidery, princess sleeves and tiaras, what better way to dress in defiance!
Maria Grazia Chiuria – Christian Dior’s creative director – took President Macron’s words to heart, following his Mid-March declaration: “We are at war.” Looking back to the post-World War II history of couture and the ‘Theatre de la Mode’ created in 1945, which utilised miniature dresses on doll size mannequins, as fabrics were in scarce supply, to show couture clients the collections. She enlisted ‘Pinocchio’ director Matteo Garrone to visualise her dream in a sumptuous video, which showed Dior bellboys dragging a doll’s house (an imitation of the Maison Dior Haute Couture Salon at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris) full of the tiny dresses through a mythical world, letting the nymphs and creatures choose their own couture!
Balmain is always quick to embrace newness, with a passionate engagement across all social media platforms and a strong spirit of inclusivity. It was with this spirit that Olivier Rousteing dived headlong into the Seine for a presentation on Paris’s biggest runway, the river itself, streaming the show live on social platforms. The live show was open for all, as the bridges were packed with spectators, and Rousteing announced afterwards that it reached a physical audience of at least 20,000 Parisians. The collection was a technical tour-de-force revisiting pieces from the archives alongside new tailoring, all set to the live music of French pop artist, Yseult: a true glimpse into the possible future of fashion presentations.
IRIS VAN HERPEN
Van Herpen has been testing the limits of the real and the digital for some time, so the notion of a digital couture fashion week was not a challenge to her and her team. She chose to rethink the whole process, producing only one dress, loaded with enough conceptual nuance to constitute a whole season. Treating the dress as a work of art, that can be flipped upside down or turned back to front without affecting its final wearability, she reimagines nature itself through the medium of couture.
VIKTOR & ROLF
Not ones to avoid ‘the conceptual’ in their collections, Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren went to the heart of the matter, questioning what it means to make a wardrobe for these uncertain times. With three mini wardrobes, each comprised of a negligee, a dressing gown, and a coat, they questioned our emotions, our fears and spoke to our humanity. The campaign video that accompanied the collection was narrated by Mika, who exclaimed during the final ‘hearts’ wardrobe “We all deserve to be loved, regardless of age, color, gender, race, religion, or sexuality.” The coat that he was referencing encouraged social distancing with its three-dimensional heart forms, whilst raising a smile and speaking to all.
For Valli it was business as usual, a time to look forward not back and celebrate the craft of couture. This time the bows were bigger, the tulle was more voluminous and his love for Couture had never felt stronger. Pairing the collection with the video above that emphasises the details of the collection and features in split-screen, videos shot on his own iPhone during his runs on the seine during confinement, his message was clear: “Now, we want to spread beauty! We want to spread dreams! I want to give hope for more happy moments to come. I want to share the idea of a future that’s going to be better than the past.” (Valli in conversation with Vogue.co.uk)
Cork is one of the most eco-friendly materials on the planet. It is a resolutely sustainable source, from beginning to end-life – you would be hard-pressed to find a material greener than cork!
Growing primarily in the Mediterranean region, the cork tree needs very little maintenance to flourish. In Portugal, the world’s number one cork producing country, the production of cork is highly regulated. Trees can only be harvested once they reach 25 years of age, and are then harvested every 9 years after regrowth. To harvest the cork produced, the outer layer of skin is stripped from the tree and the tree remains unharmed and continues growing.
The harvested cork is taken to cork processing factories where it is dried, boiled and formed into various materials and products. Amazingly, 90% of the energy used in cork processing is made from burning cork dust, a byproduct of production. In fact, none of the raw material is wasted at all in the production of cork, making it extremely sustainable.
Cork, aside from its remarkable ecological qualities, is both hard-wearing and exceptionally durable, perfect for cushioning and remarkable as insulation. Its natural beauty is enhanced by colour and texture and we hold a large range of colours here, as well as worked and formed flat roll variations.
Take a look at the slideshow to see a selection of corks we have here in our library.
Our hunger for the experience of art has never been stronger. Despite the energy and ingenuity that went into online alternatives, nothing can replace the living presence of art; virtual exhibitions, online viewing rooms and digital presentations will only ever be illusory, unsatisfying substitutes for the ‘real thing’. Art is a material and sensual activity that happens in real space and time and we have been starved of physical artworks and art experiences. When the galleries in Paris re-opened their doors after the deconfinement we couldn’t wait to go and explore the shows we missed and discover the new shows that were opening. Have a look through some of our favourites in the slideshow above, and let us tempt you to visit them IRL!
American Supply has dedicated its path to seeking out and pushing innovative practices since 1948. Our continuing quest for innovation focusses on sustainable materials and durable technical solutions – those that strain the environment as little as possible during their production, use, transformation, or disposal – and our commitment to the tenets of sustainability and eco-innovation in the future is paramount.
After three months of lockdown, the deconfinement has us taking cautious yet affirmative steps back towards normality and getting ready to experience our city revitalized and the ‘new normal.’ We, like you, have been in an introspective frame of mind, with a desire to better our practices and our product offer and we want our vision to meet your future needs. Coming out of confinement, we have seen a convergence of focus on local products and local markets. Our office in central Paris is in the heart of Europe, which makes us perfectly placed to react to the needs of clients from all over the continent with rapid response times with efficient material and production solutions.
With this in mind, we are proud to introduce a new thermoplastic raw material at American Supply – Ubiplast™. Ubiplast™ is produced from 100% domestic waste, using an innovative new process; therefore, it reduces potential harmful landfill and is an essential infinitely renewable resource for the planet and you.
Ubiplast™ comes in pellet form and can be used in manufacturing processes in injection, extrusion and compression moulding. It can be mixed in varying percentages with olefin, styrene and chlorine-based resins and additives, which all impact differently on the final carbon footprint. When used in as little as 10% of the final mix, it makes the final product Carbon Neutral, and if used in 20% the final product becomes Climate Positive. We are very proud to offer this innovative product, as it is truly a breakthrough for the plastic industry and the environment – we can now turn our trash into treasure!
We have produced several tests using natural coloured pellets in a 3D printer, using a mixture that incorporates 20% Ubiplast™making the final printed product Climate Positive, in its neutral colour. We have experimented making sculptural forms and a flexible mesh, which can then be sanded and painted in eco-friendly paints. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities! With our 3D printing capabilities, we can produce sculptural elements for your projects up to 1.5 metres by 1.5 metres in size, makingUbiplast™ an eco-innovative choice for all luxury Merchandising and PLV.
We are also currently developing an exclusive range of ready-to-use sheet materials that can be applied to your fashion, design and merchandising projects that will be revealed soon. We can also accompany you to develop bespoke materials and applications that will make your material solutions climate positive and more environmentally friendly.
We look forward to working with you on your upcoming projects, incorporating this wonderful new eco-innovative material, making the Material World a more conscious, eco-friendly place!
The famous swimming pool at Hôtel Molitor was emptied, and once again accommodated dancing with this sensuous video – Liberté – conceived during confinement by Éric Marion and Sylvia Randazzo with the dancers Myriam Ould Braham and Mickael Lafon from Opera de Paris.
Amelie Lengrand’s beautiful sculptural installation Iris, made using our iconic Magic Mirror material, floats above the basin coloring the dancers’ movements. Like a moving painting, it refracts the light in spectacular ways, layering chromatic reflections over their bodies as they perform.
Though the water is drained, this prismatic effect recalls its liquid light surface, bringing the sun itself to life. Enjoy the video above, courtesy of the Hôtel Molitor Instagram feed.