Sunday, 31 October 2010

Nokia N8 introduce 'The Commuter'

Last Monday I stopped by the premiere of Nokia’s highly anticipated new short film, The Commuter, which stars Dev Patel, Pamela Anderson, Charles Dance and Ed Westwick. Whilst films and their resulting premieres aren’t really my area of expertise, I was both intrigued and highly impressed that The Commuter was shot entirely in mobile HD, exclusively on the new Nokia N8 smartphone, which I think is just a small glimpse at the future of multi-media – making filmmaking so much more accessible, thus expanding the industry for the better, perhaps even helping to eliminate colossal budgets.
Jermaine Jackson along with two of The Commuter's stars: Pamela Anderson and Charles Dance - Images courtesy of Nokia
Shot in just four days with the Nokia N8, the streets of London and St. Albans provide the backdrop to Nokia’s story about one commuter’s (Dev Patel), eventful journey to work. Attracted to the project due to the technology used, Patel said: “I’m always interested in embracing new technology in film-making and the main reason I really wanted to get involved with The Commuter was because it was being shot just on mobile phones. I wanted to encourage the next generation of filmmakers by showing that you don’t need expensive equipment and big budgets to make your own movies. The quality of a camera phone, like the Nokia N8 allows filmmakers to produce amazing HD movies and I hope The Commuter shows aspirational filmmakers that you can create a great movie even using a mobile phone.”

Directed by one of the UK’s hottest upcoming directorial pairings, the McHenry brothers, The Commuter showcases the stunning HD 720p 12 MP camera on the N8, pushing the new device to its limits, from shooting free runners leaping across the roof tops of London’s East End to filming the streets of Soho from the front of a sports car!

SS11 Press Days: Forward PR

On Monday I attended the Forward PR press day held at the newly  re-opened Savoy Hotel, after a three year refurbishment project. As always Forward PR's client list read like a who's who in ethical and sustainable fashion. Unfortunately as I was running late (what's new?!) I didn't get the chance to check out the other brands/ agencies on display, however I was pleased that I was able to catch up with Nicola of Beautiful Soul. With a strict no-wastage policy that sees all of the fabric remnants put to good use, Beautiful Soul create timeless womenswear from vintage Japanese kimonos - recently launching a debut menswear collection.
Another label I enjoyed seeing was Ciel who for SS11 have produced some eye-catching nature-inspired digital prints on silk in rich blues and exotic earth tones. My favourite piece has to be the gorgeous knickers, below.
For the second time round I saw the brand, Magenta 8 who specialise in tailored capes, jackets and shrugs made from baby alpaca wool. My favourite garment from this season's collection is the bolero, pictured below left.
Another great eco-friendly brand on display was S.C Vizcarra, who is a family-run handwoven luxury handbag and accessories manufacturer. I especially liked the little clutch bags on display for next summer.
 Lastly I was introduced to the work of Rebecca Cella who makes exquisite hand-knitted dresses which feature delicate chain detailing and Swarovski crystals. I particularly liked the backless dress at the bottom - the perfect red carpet number.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

SS11 Press Days: Escada

And so its come to that rather lovely time of the fashion season when press days dominate my diary and whilst I'm looking at gorgeous clothing for next summer the clocks are about to go back for winter. To keep the winter blues at bay stick around for lots of press day action this weekend into next month.

To get myself off the ground I went to Forward PR's press day at The Savoy on Monday, but more about that later in the week. Today I went to see the international luxury label Escada and was really impressed with the collection up close, not having been to their showroom previously.
Loosely inspired by Africa, the colour palette of the mainline SS11 collection oozes earth, ocean and forest hues and is the perfect blend of practicality, edginess and sophistication. Favourite garments include the knock out dresses and the more laid back khaki jumpsuit (see below).
I also really like the soft leather jacket (below) which has a zip detail around the waist that can turn the garment from a long coat into a jacket - ideal for trans-seasonal weather!
As one should expect from a renowned continental luxury brand there are a few glitzy numbers in the form of embellished jackets and evening tops, as seen below.
Loved the primary coloured accessories too!
On The Escada Sport side of the label are cute dresses in colour popping shades and textures including laser-cut leather. 

Monday, 25 October 2010

'The Head of Isabella Blow' at The National Portrait Gallery

Having recently visited the National Portrait Gallery whilst waiting for a delayed friend, I came across a portrait of Isabella Blow by Tim Noble and Sue Webster, which felt incredibly well timed in light of all the Blow biographies recently released.

Comprised of a cacophony of stuffed animals dramatically spot-lit to form a portrait silhouette of the late über fashion icon, The Head of Isabella Blow is cleverly made of 15 taxidermy animals (including birds, a rat and a snake). With wood and fake moss sampled, for me the most exciting element is the heel taken from one of Blow’s very own Manolo Blahnik shoes, deftly used to create a vivid combination of sculpture, installation and light projection.

In the resulting silhouette of a head, Blow appears to be wearing one of the extraordinary hats designed for her by milliner Phillip Treacy, whom she made famous. Fascinated by Blow’s gothic quality, Noble and Webster took this one step further and chose to depict her head as though on a stake, incorporating a raven and the species of rat associated with the Black Death, offering a rather grim outlook.

Donated to the Gallery by the estate of Isabella Blow, after her death in 2007, the artwork is a result of Noble and Webster’s friendship with Blow, compounding the fact that this is the only portrait by the artists of a person other than themselves.

Of the portrait Webster says: ‘Any portrait of Issy should not be made of sugar and spice and all things nice, but of the darker stuff of life that suited her more Gothic Image. Issy was a great friend of both Tim and myself, she was one of the most enigmatic, powerful and funniest women I have ever met.’

Image credits: The Head of Isabella Blow, 2002
by Tim Noble (b.1966) and Sue Webster (b.1967)
Photograph by Andy Keate, © National Portrait Gallery, London; sculpture © Tim Noble and Sue Webster.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Tru Trussardi SS11

Earlier in the week I found myself in the grand setting of private members club Home House to celebrate the launch of the new Tru Trussardi eyewear collection for SS11. Not knowing much about the luxury label beforehand it was great to learn that Trussardi will be celebrating their centenary next year demonstrating a great legacy in the Italian leather and accessories market.
 With the SS11 womenswear sun collection themed upon ‘Urban Wild Glam’, unique custom-made acetate shapes were on offer enhanced by exotic snake skin patterns in dark hues. Epitomizing a dynamic metropolitan lifestyle, the styles on display were classic oversized Jackie O’s and aviator shapes cleverly given a fresh and contemporary look with leather finishes on the arms and little tactile details that ooze continental luxury.
A tough choice, but my favourite pair on display was the hexagonal TR12808 in tortoiseshell:

Image courtesy of Tru Trussardi and Charmant
Great to discover a new brand that I genuinely really like and it was especially nice to catch up with the lovely ladies at Tea&Cake PR.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

LFW Diary SS11 Highlights: Vauxhall Fashion Scout Exhibition

The LFW schedule was so tight this season, I truthfully didn't expect that I'd have time to visit the VFS exhibition, although an opportunity afforded itself when one of the shows ran really late. The first designer who caught my eye was Martina Spetlova as I loved her shapes and colours. Most interesting was her unrivalled use of zips - brilliant for trans-seasonal dressing.
A designer I fell in love with was Edward Finney who honed his expert tailoring skills on Saville Row, and has since fused them with cutting-edge techniques to make amazing and somewhat eccentric womenswear. Brimming with the most luxurious brocades and silks, the SS11 collection is inspired by exotic dancer, courtesan and spy Mata Hari and draws on influences from Ancient Egypt and Paris in the 1920s. A truly great collection and having been nominated for this year's Fashion Fringe, Finney is most certainly one to watch.
Another quirky young designer whom I loved is Charlotte Taylor. So simple, yet so effective, I absolutely loved Charlotte's orange robot print, applying her signature stamp throughout the collection. If I had to pick, my favourite garments would be the two pairs of shorts pictured below.
A label I hadn't previously heard of, I loved the linen pieces by Ong.
Last but by no means least, I really admired the accessories on display from Yorkshire Pearl. As someone who loves buttons and little trinkets, these pieces are perfect for me and I think they'd add a healthy dose of drama to any photo shoot.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

LFW Diary SS11 Highlights: Somerset House Exhibition

During LFW I love nothing more than having a root around the exhibition space in Somerset House to discover new and exciting designers, with this season being no exception. The first great designer I stumbled upon is Ioannis Dimitrousis whose first foray into womenswear (after previously producing several collections of menswear since graduating from LCF in 2005) is exceptional, utilising knitting techniques to create modern, sculptural and highly sophisticated dresses.
In the Haynes PR room I found Cecilia Mary Robson, whose garments I was drawn to instantly due to the beautiful silks and dressing-up-box colours. Another new designer on my SS11 wish list!
A brand I love more and more each season is Eudon Choi for their pared down colour palettes, clean lines and superior cutting skills and high-quality fabrics. I love the exhibitions and press days more than the shows (in some respects) as you always get to really examine the pieces up close and also meet the talent behind the brands. Check out one of the designers, the lovely Kate who sweetly held pieces up for me to snap in the pic below, right. My favourite garment from SS11 would have to be the black and beige wrap-round mini skirt a few pics down.
Is always good to gush and I absolutely ADORE these Camilla Skovgaard shoes in collaboration with Eudon Choi.
A firm favourite of mine is Georgia Hardinge who simply never fails to disappoint. I adore the variety of textures in her SS11 collection and absolutely love the ruffling and folding techniques, which see her moving away from the intense structure we saw last season, still experimenting with the form, creating an amazing silhouette. I've simply got to get myself the yellow dress, although might be a bit short on me...
Each season I'm always curious to see what J Smith Esquire will do and this season he has introduced the Mr Smith collection which features a variety of leather hats slashed with such precision that they come flat packed and look impeccable, which is rare for an - albeit high end - baseball cap.
Also in the Haynes PR room I found a couple of garments by Elliot Atkinson that I loved. Check out the beautiful grey and pink floral platforms below and also a black lace shirt complete with metallic points on the collar. Very Dallas!
Yet more beautiful shoes from the footwear legend, Nicholas Kirkwood.
With a soft spot for milliner Piers Atkinson's outlandish headwear I am always super-excited to see what he comes up with next and this time round I loved the 'Hollywood' look and really appreciated the sophisticated turn the collection has taken, making it a little less kitsch, but just as eye-catching.
I didn't think much of the manners, but I rather liked the wares on display from leather label, Rae Jones - especially the shoes which came in a variety of different colourways.