Reblogged from the Financial Times, Feb 08 2013, by Lucia van der Post:
Ever since times got tough, scarves seem to have gone blithely off on a trajectory of their own, zooming up the popularity charts to become almost the sartorial equivalent of lipstick – a quick but not-so‑inexpensive fix to lighten up the gloom. Once, Hermès was the only significant player in town, but these days some of the most creative designers around seem to see the scarf as a vehicle for serious artistic endeavour.
The plain-coloured pashmina, once the ne plus ultra of luxe, now seems, well, dull. What we are seeing instead is a huge explosion of colour and pattern. Take, for instance, the Milan‑based art/design duo Francesco Rugi and Silvia Quintanilla of Carnovsky. “The scarf is not just a fashion accessory,” they say on their website, “but also a sort of wearable piece of art that can interact with the person depending upon the way it is worn.” As part of their RGB (Red Blue Green) project, which explores how surfaces and colours mutate depending upon different chromatic or light stimuli, they have designed three extraordinarily vibrant digitally printed scarves. These are lovely; each scarf is made of the finest silk, has hand-rolled edges and comes in a limited edition of 99. They are £540 each (Rosone No 1 design in first picture), from the Jaguar Shoes Collective Store.
Then there’s Sarah Swash and Toshio Yamanaka, whose Swash brand is creating waves. They’re artists who have been commissioned to do collaborations and installations for high-profile retailers (Camper, Le Bon Marche, Isetan), but they also have turned their talents to the scarf, using a combination of digital printing and their own works to come up with some finely wrought examples in silk. They’re sold through Farfetch.com and Net-a-Porter and prices range from £273 to £385.
Another artist, Athena Procopiou, who is both concert pianist and an illustrator, has created a sweetly coloured collection – perfect for summer – inspired by her travels to Morocco and the Garden of Majorelle. She’s sold in Harrods and her prices range from £189 to £310 (silk-mix Sahara Doors scarf on left in second picture, £280). Alternatively, Malgosia Stepnik is a painter who takes vivid prints from her own exuberant paintings (which she describes as “energy explosions”) and uses them in cashmere and chiffon pieces. Her vibrant work can now be found across a stunning capsule collection of scarves that has just arrived at Harrods, from £180 to £500 (chiffon Splash scarf on right in second picture, £189).
Athena Procopiou, http://www.athenaprocopiou.com and see Harrods. Carnovsky, http://www.carnovsky.com and see Jaguar Shoes Collective Store. Farfetch.com, 020-3510 0670; http://www.farfetch.com. Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, London SW1 (020-7730 1234; http://www.harrods.com). Jaguar Shoes Collective Store, 1 Kingsland Road, London E2 (020‑7729 5830; http://www.jaguarshoes.com). Malgosia Stepnik, http://www.malgosiastepnik.com and see Harrods. Net-a-Porter, http://www.net-a-porter.com. Swash, http://www.swash.co.uk and see Far Fetch and Net-a-Porter.