Beyond the Pale


Michal Negrin: Baroque Genius of WHIMSY

From the get-go we know this website isn’t going to be a subtle affair: crimson velvet theatre curtains pull slowly apart to reveal the bizarre, charming and – if one is honest – slightly bewildering – world of designer Michal Negrin

An explosion of colours, overwhelming Baroque pastoral scenes involving plump cupids, frolicking 18th century lovers, random Kewpie dolls, 1920’s flapper girls dangling from hot air balloons and, ultimately, a mind-blowing peek into her world of full-on, turned-up-to-eleven romantic historical WHIMSY. A world, as you may imagine, I utterly adore.

I can’t quite recall when I first came across her designs, but I know exactly which item it was – a sumptuously gorgeous Victorian style skirt with overlapping romantic scrapbook-like pictures and tumbling roses. Love at first sight!

I think it would be fair to say that I rarely come across designers whose collections make me gasp and want one of practically everything, but Michal Negrin ticks all my boxes. 🙂

This is a relatively staid design from the current collection, totally wearable – I’d wear it as a day dress with a little cardi, plum colored tights, black biker boots & lashings of pearls. Just beacause.

I ALSO completely covet the other design in this style… Dreamy, misty, dusk-like colours and a cameo in the centre of the lacey trellis of a Victorian lady wearing a striped bathing suit. Seriously, what’s not to love?

Michal Negrin has been creating a unique lifestyle for over two decades with vintage-inspired designs that include jewelry, fashion, home décor, and accessories.

This full-length gown is just jaw-droppingly stunning – I think it looks like something from an Oscar Wilde play. It actually makes my heart beat faster.

Yes, yes, I know the price may also make the heart beat faster, but it’s a designer gown. We’re not doing a feature on supermarket fashion here, are we? (And I’m not being snobbish – I am currently putting together a feature about supermarket fashions I love, as it happens! – there are just different categories of clothing. I think this rivals some of Alexander McQueens last collection, but at a price that, whilst still expensive, is certainly more attainable than couture!)

This design is particularly reminiscent of that Baroque style couture – inspiration surely from cheerfully gaudily painted ceilings and the artwork one finds in those sumptuous palaces that have the power to take the breath away.

I love the colours in this skirt, they remind me of hand-tinted romantic Victorian photographs of famous actresses and noted beauties of the age.

As you can see, these softer colours are probably easier to wear for those of a nervous disposition who shy away from designs and patterns they consider ‘loud’ – this little vest top could be worn classically with a cashmere cardi & pearls, or thrown on with jeans & leather jacket. It’s all about the styling, dahling. 😉

Born in Kibbutz Naan in 1957, Michal always knew she was an individual with her own vision and this was despite being brought up in an environment that preached group uniformity.

She was driven to follow her inner passion for self-expression and spent her childhood designing. Her mother was an inspiration and supported her in fulfilling her dreams despite the Kibbutz’s conventions.

Well, there is absolutely nothing that says ‘group uniformity’ in Michal’s designs, that’s for sure. They manage to capture the spirit of those vintage collectible ‘saucy’ postcards – Victorian beauties showing a well-turned ankle or – shocking – gadding about in their under-crackers.

This skirt depicts ladies swimming through a palace as various Baroque items of furniture bob past. If you cannot love such a scene, then I seriously doubt we’d get on. I mean it. 🙂

A dramatic kimono top featuring Victorian ladies in handcarts above a vast city skyline climbing ladders into the sky… Again, I ask – what’s not to love?

It is obvious that Michal is passionate about vintage images, the bejewelled, beribboned world of Baroque, of gilded palaces, the court of Marie Antoinette, intricate Victorian scrapbook pictures, the excess of 1920’s hedonism and those gaily painted barges or gypsy caravans that gleam with brightly painted bouquets of flowers. All passions I share, so no wonder I am so giddy about her work!

Little details like the placing of the curtain-call ladies arm-in-arm, circling the cuffs of this beautiful bolero… literally make me squeal. It’s such fun, I love the sheer exuberance of these images and the way they are placed on the designs.

I have only shown you a tiny proportion of the items I love (I’d have to lead you through the entire website!) and even then have only touched on the clothes… Oh my dears, there are stunning boots & shoes, jewellery and even items for the home, too! But I shall leave you to explore those yourselves. 🙂

Negrin’s designs are more than I could normally spend, but then these are hardly your average clothes and accessories. I shall own some of her pieces one day soon, I SHALL! I long for them. 😦

Oh, I know, quelle melodramatic hand-to-the-forehead – forgive me if I sink, breathless, onto a velvet chaise lounge, but I rather think it suits these styles I so hanker after. 😉

Until next time,

Yours entirely made of whimsy,

Miss Nightingale

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

To Whom It May Concern :

Hello : and I must say you have very good taste, Class, Top Shelf ! I was looking for something else ,and here you are ! From a man’s point of view … GOD SPEED !

Comment by Alan

I’m definitely feeling the Baroque style!

Comment by starsweare

I agree with a lot of things you’ve said in this article. Well written, thanks!

Comment by Cusack@ymail.com




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