Monday, 30 November 2009

Listings- here to stay!

Today I decided that each and every Monday (with as few words as possible) I'm going to post some listings of events, fashion shows, sample sales and general things in London that might be of interest. Click on the pics to see more!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Just Another Fashion Show

I took this hideously low tech picture at a fashion show yesterday but realised I rather like it after almost deleting it. To me it shows the fashion stage as the merry-go-round it is. Sometimes I feel like it doesn't really matter what the clothes and models look like...

Friday, 27 November 2009

SS10 PRESS DAYS: Part Eight

Yesterday I popped into the ASOS press day on my way to dinner at one of my favourites, Nando’s. As a fan of ASOS who has never actually bought any clothing online I thought it was my duty to pop down and have a little look.

What stood out for me about this press day more than others was the immediate feeling of summer I got whilst walking around the huge space. I loved all of the bright colour and pattern and luxurious silk kaftans, beautiful swimwear and embellished pieces that seemed to be everywhere.

As you can see from the images below there was plenty of texture on offer in the form of sequins, crystals, beads, feathers and jersey cut out strips and panels.

A couple of garments really caught my eye both by designer Belle Savvage. The first was a beautiful twist on the shift dress in black with a deep V-neck and beautiful and colourful geometric pattern.

The second garment that I would have really liked to take away from me was this silk dress in the most gorgeous pastels which are not something I’d usually go for. I don’t really know how to describe why I liked it, it was just beautiful from the subtle statement shoulders, to the snug fit, to the slightly structured tulip shape of the skirt – amazing!

Whilst I’m not sure who all the brands were there was a beautiful selection of jewellery on show which included chunky hand painted bracelets, necklaces embellished with layer upon layer of beads and charm necklaces which included the cutest plastic models of kilted bagpipers.

Another thing I really liked was the use of African prints and fabrics throughout the presentation of the collections which I felt helped to hammer home the subtle tribal tones and mood reflected on many of the SS10 catwalks.

On the way out I had a quick glance at the menswear and really, really liked the footwear. Loved the subtle changes and updating of the boat shoes, brogue, leather sandal and to my surprise and great delight there was even a man’s gladiator sandal which is fab, and I look forward to seeing these on the streets next year.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Fashioning the Future 2009 Awards (written for Amelia's Magazine)

Image featuring the work of On Ying Lai photographed by Tomer Halfon.
Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the Fashioning the Future 2009 Awards held within the swanky top floor of the Mayor’s HQ; London City Hall. Organised by the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion, the FFA competition was created especially to award both home grown and international students whose work strives to work towards and highlight sustainability within the fashion industry. Building upon the momentum and success of the awards debut last year, last night saw the FFA celebrate and promote the next generation of emerging talent in eco and sustainable fashion, by awarding students in five categories.
Prizegivers (L-R): Lucy Siegle, Paul de Zylva, Jo Wood and Duncan Goose. Photography by John Alex Maguire.
Hosted by the lovely Caryn Franklin; fashion commentator and broadcaster, most memorable to me for her stint on the BBC’s The Clothes Show back in the ‘90s, other speakers included Professor Frances Corner MBE; Head of the London College of Fashion, Dilys Williams; Director of Centre for Sustainable Fashion and Lucy Siegle; broadcaster and journalist.
To read more about Fashioning the Future 2009 Awards visit Amelia's Magazine.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

If Tracey Emin ruled the world...

A couple of days ago I attended the V+A to view the Fashion Future Now exhibition and ended up spending a rather long time looking around the main fashion room, 40. In amongst all the beautiful garments and evening dress through the century I found this fabulous Tracey Emin creation for Longchamp from the recent 2004.
As a big fan of Tracey Emin, who like marmite you either love or hate her, I absolutely love the impact of her work and think it’s unrivalled really in the realm of modern art. I think there are a lot of twats out there who try and fail miserably to create something that both shocks and has impact in equal measures– who inevitably can’t live up to their own hype and fail miserably. What I like about Emin is that her work is balsy and semi-autobiographical and that it works, she some how manages to pull it off– even with a dirty bed! I think mostly I respect her for putting herself out there no holds barred, and not giving a s**t what critics and a**eholes alike say about her.
Whilst I could talk about Emin’s illustrious back catalogue of works all day I’m digressing– although I will say that it was great to see her strutting her stuff around the Saatchi gallery in the BBC2 series School of Saatchi. What I like about Emin’s suitcase for Longchamp titled ‘International Woman’ is that it pays to her biggest strength, which is in textiles (although personally I love her drawings and photography too). I think I just feel inspired by the uniqueness of Emin’s work as its instantly recognisable and so full of character and life. Can’t get enough of it so if any of my friends and family aren’t sure what to get me for Christmas yet here’s your first hint. I also need a scanner, a hard drive, oh and a house would be good– any takers?!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

ATP World Tour Finals

Yesterday I felt like the luckiest girl in the world as I attended the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 arena. Last week I was thrilled (literally jumping for joy) when I got an invitation from a lovely lady called Emma on behalf of Lacoste, who thought as the tennis-mad-geek I am that I would enjoy it– and God was she right!
As someone who is tennis obsessed to the extent where for from mid June to mid July you won’t catch me leaving the BBC coverage for anything other than work (sadly due to over indulgence caused by a lack of annual subscription to premium sports channels) it might be surprising to know I’d never EVER attended a live tennis match before. Just for the non tennis boffins out there I’ll list why June and July are so good: first up there’s the Aegon championships- formerly known as Queen’s Championships- then Eastbourne, and finally quintessentially British tennis at its best; the glorious fortnight more commonly known as Wimbledon.

With luxurious corporate hospitality all the way I was lucky enough to spend the morning in the Lacoste sponsors village overlooking the only practice court with a brunch buffet and champagne.

What I really liked about the sponsors village was that when we were hanging around in the morning and between matches we had somewhere to go to relax and eat and drink rather than staying in the stalls. When it was time for the first match we were escorted to our seats on the first floor as if we were VIPs.

I was really impressed with how great my seat was in the centre of the row where I was high enough to see pretty much everything. I enjoyed the matches so much and loved it most when the players used Hawk Eye to challenge a call, as the crowd got really into it, and it seemed to intensify the competitive spirit between the opposing players.

Yesterday was quite a big deal to actually go and have the opportunity to watch some of my favourites play in person. One I was eager to watch was Andy Roddick who I’ve grown up watching over the past ten years and will proudly admit to fancying the pants off. Unfortunately due to injury he pulled out so instead I got to watch his replacement, Swede Robin Soderling (No. 9 seed) thrash Rafael Nadal (No. 2 seed) which would have been a huge upset if not for the fact that the tournament is a round robin event.

Image courtesy of BBC Sport.
Whilst gutted that I’d missed my long awaited chance to meet Roddick and make him want to dump his gorgeous lingerie model wife and marry me instead, I thoroughly enjoyed the tennis because of the atmosphere in the arena which was really exciting and made the match even more intense than it could possibly be from the pub or sofa at home. It was really great to be there and get the buzz off people cheering, mainly in Spanish for Nadal.

Image courtesy of BBC Sport.
Among other heckles were for Andy Murray and Boris Becker which were pretty hilarious. Not sure what really happened but Nadal wasn’t his usual self (although he was playing at a high standard) and we really expected it to go to a 3rd set and like most pundits would not have predicted Nadal would be beaten in straight sets (6-4, 6-4). I also got to watch a great doubles match between the American Bryan Brothers and victors Mirnyi and Ram who served and volleyed excellently (6-4, 6-4).

A not so good pic of Rafa and his mighty serve!
Such a great day out which made me wish I’d fought harder to get tickets years ago as I could have been enjoying live tennis for years, although not for want of trying. Would love to go back to the O2 for some more tennis so will be keeping my eye out for UK Davis Cup matches next year and hoping that the ATP World Tour Final’s will return to London again– hopefully with a fully fit Roddick in toe. Absolutely loved yesterday the only thing I would say is that I REALLY missed the BBC commentary team which I know sounds really dorky but when you get to hear perspectives on the match from the likes of Boris Becker, John McEnroe, Tim Henman, David Mercer, John Lloyd and Sue Barker thrown in for good measure, it’s just wrong not to enjoy it.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

SS10 PRESS DAYS: Part Seven

Last night I popped into the Arcadia Group press day in Bloomsbury on the way to meet an old friend. I was really impressed with the huge space the brands had used in Victoria House to stage the press day and I was genuinely really impressed by all the collections which made me long for summer. Really loved the Evans collection a lot as there were lots of animal prints, dark natural colours and a beautiful maxi dress which I think is going to fly of the racks in a few months.
The only items I took photographs of were from Miss Selfridge as my camera was dying and I only wanted to capture my favourite bits. Topshop was old hat really, nothing bad all the clothes and accessories were beautiful but for me Topshop is Topshop– we’re socially programmed to love it! I find Miss Selfridge more interesting as for me it’s kind of like Topshop’s little sister who will eventually grow up and start to get all the attention.

Themes through the collection were very varied, there was mad hatter’s tea party, authentic cowgirl, and 80s glam. My favourite pieces were the white and black polka dot jacket with huge statement shoulders and ¾ sleeves and a great cut.

Also loved the interesting mix of styles in this red Indian and cowboy influenced dress with added sequins for sparkle.

The accessories were what stole the show for me. I absolutely fell in love with these bright red floral embellished heels which will look so cute next summer. The only trouble is with our recent track record of damp summers you’ll have to choose which day you wear them very carefully.

Loved this cute what I would call pillbox heart shaped bag. Great for an evening bag as it’s really subtly embellished with sequins and the metal chain is set to be very on trend again next year.

Lastly a recurring theme throughout the Miss Selfridge collection was that of fun which I felt was epitomised in this really kitsch ice-cream and sweet charm necklace– very cool indeed.

If that wasn’t enough I got a very big surprise when I was contemplating leaving only to realise I’d walked passed and not noticed a certain Boy George spinning tunes on the decks. As a big fan of Culture Club it was nice to see him, but after his recent brushes with the law, they’re unfortunately what I instantly thought of, and like everyone I couldn’t help but thinking; why is he here? Was definitely a nice touch and very fitting when taking into account that the 80s are again set to be huge next year as even if no one else is championing them Arcadia are which means everyone will once again be channelling the 80s in their dress next summer. I for one cannot wait!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Welcome to Spine TV!

Last month saw the return of the much loved Spine TV website where viewers will be able to digitally tune in to watch some of the most unique, irreverent and funny takes on modern culture, ranging from fashion and music to Morris dancing. Spine TV, sister site to Spine Magazine launched way back in 2000 as a platform to showcase creative work created by U-Dox.
With five categories focusing on music, film, art, magazine and ‘live’ TV, the new schedule is dizzyingly diverse and broad. Music, art and film will feature original content from Spine TV and contributor directors. ‘Magazine’ will feature ‘Stolen Moments’; a monthly show filmed by Dan Canyon consisting of topical and irreverent articles. Live TV will be hosted on a daily basis by the ‘Fun House’ (No, not the Pat Sharp kind)collective featuring DJ MK (Kiss 100 FM) and Harry Love (Extended Players). Their sessions will be broadcast live and direct from their very own kitchen– how’s that for authenticity?!
Among the wealth of contributors on board are young film makers Bronwen Parker Rhodes, Leo Leigh, Dean Pucket, Colin O’Toole and Grace Ladoja. Tune in for short films from London artists and art collectives: Verity Keefe, Ceylan Projects and Freeshit - Saltgrit (‘Morris v Rave’, ICA). Expect regular shows from London’s most relevant crews – BNTL (Better Never Than Late), ATG (Ahead of The Game) and WAH (magazine). As if this wasn’t enough there are many presenter led shows from the likes of Mystro, Sarah Love (MTV/1xtra), Teef, Moxie Block and Empress Hula.
If this sounds like your cup of tea check out the next instalment now.

Friday, 13 November 2009


The first appointment of the day was at Felicities’ Designer Showroom where I saw many great designers. First up was British label Migh-T designed by Kumiko Watari. Whilst I don’t really buy into T-shirt brands personally I absolutely loved the kooky prints and reincarnation of the much loved garden gnome whose familiar effigy featured heavily throughout the collection. I loved the vintage feel of the brand which I would attribute to the washed out jersey fabrics and prints.

In addition to the great T-shirt range key pieces for me included their cute cotton short sleeved blouses with vintage inspired florals and quirky repeat patterns which for me made this one of the better brands I’ve discovered so far at SS10 press days.

Another great brand showcased was that of Harriet’s Muse created by design duo Craig Spellar and Cheryl Partingdon who funnily enough both used to lecture me at uni. What I like most about their brand is that it’s designed for women to bring out their racier and more adventurous sides, whilst still retaining their modesty and personal sense of style.

Harriet’s Muse was a collection of versatile and sexy pieces ranging from casual jersey pieces to bone-corsets. A rather understated range with a colour palette of black, grey, cream and navy.

Next up was Ada Zanditon’s collection the other half of which I saw on Wednesday at Estethica.

Another new designer to me was Jacob Kimmie whose 'La Ville Sauvage' collection centred around his study of orchids. Made from luxurious silk and chiffon Jacob’s collection was predominantly black interjected with purple hues and orchid prints.

What I liked most about Jacob’s collection was in addition to the highly wearable orchid pieces there were also a couple of standout show stopper garments. The first of which was a beautiful lace and organza prom style dress with the most exquisite appliquéd petals.

The second garment I loved was a patent gold leather halter-neck waistcoat which was divine. I loved everything about it from the great cut to the stud and pocket details. Reminded me a bit of Michael Jackson circa the Bad album– amazing!

The last designer I fell in love with was located right at the back of the showroom and was Afshin Feiz whose SS10 collection is entitled ‘Don’t Have to be Beautiful but it Helps’. What I loved about his collection of dresses were the laboriously beautiful and intricate hand detailing that went into them. I think it was clear from viewing the quality and finish of Afshin’s collection that he had cut his teeth at several couture fashion houses; John Galliano, Thierry Mugler and Christian Lacroix.

Influenced by love and romanticism I loved the combinations of textured fabrics and complimentary colours that ran throughout his work which I felt brought me back to the 1940s where garments were much better constructed and designed to hug and highlight the figure creating an amazing silhouette.

What really bowled me over about Afshin’s work was the hand pleating techniques used. If you look at the jacket for example it is so well made its just stunning. Lastly I loved his sculptured sequin skirt which had been made using hundreds upon hundreds of sequins which were stacked up to create extra volume around the hemline and around the pockets. This skirt was so beautifully made and so superb up close that I truly believe it would be better suited as a work of art hanging in a fashion museum if not only due to its weight.

Other great stand out items I saw were these amazing platform shoes by Lako Bukia which I could so imagine on someone like Lady GaGa. Taken from his ‘Emotions’ collection Lako explores the divides between the good and kind emotions within people and the darker more sinister emotions.

Lastly one item that caught my eye was a black and blue handbag by Darkest Star. What I liked a lot about this bag was that it was inspired by orchids and I thought the combination of print and pleating techniques was brilliant. It reminded me of really complicated and intricate origami that I’ve always wished I could do.

Next up on my itinerary was the Iriquois press day located not far from Barbican station. Upon entering their first floor showroom I instantly fell in love with Never, a jewellery brand that uses antique and vintage trinkets within their pieces.

I fell in love with this brand first off because of the beautiful way that the collection had been displayed (that’s my obsession with chandeliers rearing its ugly head again) but also due to my love of vintage accessories. I think it’s such a great way to capture the beauty of antique jewellery not always by restoring it, but looking at how it can be incorporated into modern design. Not to gush, but I absolutely loved this jewellery and since seeing it will be pestering my relatives to get me a little something for Christmas!

A new designer to me whom I really liked was Olanic. Designed by Niki Taylor, the collection really caught my eye due to the large mix of fabrics and textures ranging from metallic foil-leather to silk chiffon to lurex.

I loved the imagination that went into what should have been simple jersey and cotton pieces such as this grey jumper which was livened up with a smattering of beads and studs and had fantastic pleats to adorn the shoulders.

From the collection I also really liked the selection of black and cream silk tops which had a really retro inspired quirky print consisting of florals and what appears to be an arm. Reminiscent of the posed arm in the ‘We Can Do It’ WWII propaganda posters I simply loved this print designed by artist Sandy Hutton.

The last piece from the collection that caught my eye was a rather playful mac which I found out had been designed in collaboration with Mackintosh. What I liked about it was that it had been brought up to date and given some much needed kitsch appeal with the addition of 16 bows which lined each side of the jacket. What was so great about the bows was that they were clip on so you could change them depending on your mood, and if you really wanted to you could take them all off and just have stud detailing instead.
Another new designer I discovered was Lu Flux; whose designs I fell head over heels for due to the witty story expressed in the SS10 collection titled ‘The Eco Life of Riley’. Specialising in ethical clothing Lu works with salvaged, vintage and often organic fabrics which she expertly knits, pleats and patchworks into her truly original designs.

My favourite piece from the collection was the feathered dress below which was displayed along with a headpiece used solely for fashion shoots. Clearly referencing the inspiration behind the collection, the ‘humble bluetit’, I absolutely loved the delicacy of the garment in addition to the colours and pattern used.

I also really liked the use of bold graphics throughout the collection which saw arrows being used throughout which I felt gave the garments (which let’s face it are made from old -albeit beautiful- rags) a new lease of life and also helped toughen them up. Absolutely amazing.
The last designer who really caught my eye was Yan To whose collection was cool on first glance, but once finding out more info on his methods the collection became a whole lot cooler. Coming from a corporate advertising background and with no official fashion training I was delighted to be looking through Yan’s first collection titled ‘One’.

A capsule collection of sexy and elegant evening dresses it was upon closer inspection that I noticed they had been distressed. The first dress which caught my eye was a beautiful pink, orange and yellow organza number which had literally been burned with a lighter to create several holes– with amazing results.

Other great items included one of his ’20 Marlborough Light’ chiffon dresses, named as such due to it taking 20 cigarettes to create all the holes in this beautiful dress. I absolutely love that this is how the dress was created and whilst thinking Yan was a madman for putting fire so close to his garments I think he’s also a genius.

The last items I fell in love with were a couple of dresses in the pink, orange and yellow colourway and black that had been spray painted. Whilst it was obvious enough to begin with these garments truly reflected the nature of Yan’s work in that they are not simply garments they are also highly original pieces of art with no two garments ever being the same.
What I and I think everyone of Yan’s customers love about his work is the freedom he has in that he has nothing to live up to, which I think must have helped to him be so uninhibitedly creative. I love the experimentation that clearly runs throughout the collection and I like that all the dresses were halter-neck in order to show off what he believes to be the most beautiful part of a woman’s body. An incredible designer who I really hope gets the recognition and acclaim that he so clearly deserves.

The final stop of the day was the Village Press open day which wasn’t really very good. The highlight for me was being given the choice between hot dogs or roasted chestnuts for my complementary snack, and of course the chestnuts won hands down– all six of them. There was only one item that really caught my eye as I was exploring the three floored showroom and that was a beautiful belt by Kenzo. Made from a silky cream rope I fell in love with the silver buckle which featured a generous helping of different shades of blue gemstones mixed with crystals.
Other than that the only designer I want to write about is Ashish whose SS10 collection looked great. I loved the random mix of styles and influences from 80s to biker to glam.

My favourite item has to be these tie-dye effect tracksuit bottoms with an attached bum bag detail at the side. Reminded me a lot of MC Hammer and Run DMC– sheer genius!!

I also really liked the Hawaiian themed ‘Aloha’ and pineapple print sweatshirt thought this would be great for a trashy 80s dance themed shoot with dancers from Pineapple’s performing arts school– would be a great tongue-in-cheek piss take.

On a slightly more serious note I absolutely loved the black wool and leather biker jacket with stud detailing, super rock ‘n’ roll. Even though it was black I think borderline there were too many things going on but I love that it’s a bit overkill with different textures and appliqué and sequins and quilting. On paper it reads like a nightmare but it’s one of the coolest jackets I’ve seen in a long time.

Lastly I loved the sequined ‘Life Is a Beach’ top, very, very glitzy, kitsch and cool.