Lynn Christiansen’s World of WearableArt

Eleven years ago Lynn Christiansen made the decision to throw in her job as a marketing executive and follow her true calling. Now she is a regular collaborator with Los Angeles fashion designer Jeremy Scott, and has almost won the Supreme World of WearableArt Award, twice.

This year her entry ‘Gothic Habit’ (pictured) was awarded first prize in the American Express Open Section and runner up to the Supreme Award.

A line she read in a self-help book was the catalyst for change says Christiansen, who at the time was unhappy in her work but couldn’t figure out what to do next.

“The one line said ‘when was the last time you lost track of time?’ I was in grad school and had some air-drying clay. I sculpted this little leopard and when I looked up it was dark outside. Hours had passed. I thought back to this moment and said, ‘that’s it. I’m quitting the job, taking leave and going to art school to study sculpture,” she says.

During her study she discovered she had an affinity with metal, which led her to making jewellery, including runway pieces for the fashion department which caught the eye of Scott.

One of their most memorable collaborations to date was a meat dress, presented at New York Fashion Week two days after Lady Gaga wore a real meat dress at 2010 The Grammy’s. The timing was coincidental. “We debated, do we show it or should we not show it, and in the end we decided to show it,” she says. “It was kind of fun because it even won an MTV online poll of whose dress they liked better. Ours was much classier. It’s based on prosciutto not raw meat, and vegetarian because it was made out of silicon rubber.”

Christiansen, who hails from San Francisco, is now a respected artist/designer and seven-time World of WearableArt (WOW) veteran, taking out a number of awards for her work including the 2013 International Award.

This year’s award-winning entry ‘Gothic Habit’ was made from laser-etched felt and wood, and constructed with more than 2300 individually cut pieces that were painstakingly assembled to create an astonishing sculpture of a gothic cathedral.

Christiansen’s inspiration for the garment was drawn from the idea that entering a religious building provides a spiritual experience in itself, “the rising arches, heavy stone and raw beauty are stunning”.

She discovered the process of laser-etching and cutting after realising working with metal was exhausting, not only for her but also for the models who have to wear the garments. Her 2010 WOW entry ‘Horridus’, inspired by the Australian thorny devil lizard, was a suit of armour made up of hundreds of metal scales. “After I finished Horridus I lost the feeling in my thumb and index finger for about a month and thought I probably needed to try something new,” she says.

‘Gothic Habit’ by Lynn Christiansen is part of the World of WearableArt exhibition on show at Auckland War Memorial Museum from November 21, 2014 to March 22, 2015.

Inside Victoria Beckham’s first ever boutique in London

Victoria Beckham knows a thing or two about shopping.

The British pop-star turned style icon, now designer, has revolutionised he way women will shop with her first-ever boutique store in Mayfair, London.

The Dover Street store opens today, but don’t expect to find Beckham proudly positioned behind the store’s till – because there are no tills to speak of.

Nor is there a display window or rails of designer frocks as soon as you enter the 6,000 square feet store.

“We’re not going to have any ugly tills anywhere,” Beckham explained in a recent interview.

“Payment is with an iPad, so we can go to the customer on whatever floor she’s on.”

The huge contemporary space is completely understated with concrete floors and dominated by a soaring staircase.

“It’s the first time people can see the brand through my eyes,’” Beckham told reporters.

“I didn’t want a traditional shop window, just a plain window, and a huge concrete sliding door.”

“It is unrecognisable from the original space,” she revealed.

‘The floors weren’t connected, and I said, “Wouldn’t it be incredible to drill a hole through all three floors, so you could stand on the top floor and see the ground floor. I didn’t think it would be possible, but it was.”

An American walnut bench acts as a seat and ‘cash and wrap’ area. Colourful handbags adorn one entire wall – looking like as much of an art feature as a product display.

Tucked away on the left are smaller leather goods like purses and key rings (starting from £150) and sunglasses.

The more affordable Victoria – Victoris Beckham collection is also on display along a zig-zag rail that echo the designer’s initials.

A bottle-green glass wall defines the changing rooms which writers have been happily reporting as decently sized with generous rail space and a bench to sit on.

The mother-of-four, whose youngest child, Harper, is just three, said: ‘There’s plenty of room if somebody’s got a child with them – a child can wait. [There is] lots of hanging space, space where they can put their bags down.”

Husbands and partners have also been carefully considered with a cluster of wooden benches and a giant screen that streams catwalk shows at the other end.

“I’ve been very lucky in the past that David’s been shopping and bought me gifts,’ she says. ‘I want men to know that whether it’s for a birthday or Christmas, Valentine’s Day, whatever it might be, a guy can come here and select the right gift. That’s very important for me. I don’t want an intimidating environment. We’ve all been shopping and felt awkward. I don’t want that.”

But with handbags and main collection dresses starting from £1,500, those men will need deep pockets if they are shopping here.

Fans will be happy to hear that the fashionista does promise to be a regular feature of the store, even if she can’t quite believe how far she has come.

Five years ago, if you’d said that I’d have a store on Dover Street, I’d never have believed it,’ she admited. ‘I feel really really lucky.’

The new Victoria Beckham store is at 36 Dover Street, London W1. For more information visit

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