In 2004 I visited NYC for the first time and began my photography project titled Ariel. Over the years I've taken snaps every time I've been in spitting distance of a plane, however there's something about these first snaps taken when I was a bored teenager that I love and they inspire me to keep the project open.
Back in AW09 demi-couture designer (and CSM alumni) Lorena de la Torre produced a show stopper of a press piece for her poignant capsule collection called The High Street Is Watching You. Only producing handmade garments, Lorena utilises intricate pleating and geometric shapes as though she invented them. Anyone who takes inspiration from George Orwell's 1984 gets my vote!
Yet another series of photos circa 2003. I guess I held onto them because its evidence of my learning how to properly develop a photo in the school dark room... I should really have taken a photo of my notes...
Clockwise from top left: Lie Down I Think I Love You, 33 Amwell St; I love what they sell, but more importantly I love the exterior of the store. I used to live in Clerkenwell so its really familiar and indicative of the ward, which for a time was known as 'London's Little Italy'. She Died of Beauty; For Erin O'Connor and Kate Halfpenny's playful take on fashion. House of Flora; For exquisite fashion accessories designed by Flora McLean. I particularly love this yellow hat/wig. RP Encore; For the sheer brilliance and skill demonstrated in their wholly unique accessories. Holly Fulton; I'm a big fan of her fashion, but more importantly I love her prints and yellow is my favourite colour. Hermione de Paula; I absolutely love this dress from her SS11 collection.
I've been a fan of Verhoeven for around a decade; since I began pouring over the pages of cult magazines such as Dazed, witnessing first-hand Verhoeven bringing illustration back to editorial. Initially I was attracted by her love of bright colour and whimsical illustration, which routinely depicted wide-eyed, pouty waifs. Several school and college art projects were inspired by her - with me producing large scale paintings of my favourite pieces (pictured above). Having worked with a plethora of world renowned brands (Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, Peter Jensen, V&A, Sky, Self Service, Versace, Sketch, Numero, Gibo, Selfridges, Loewe and H&M to name but a few), to my mind Verhoeven is the most commercially successful illustrator of her generation.
I visited Lord Davenport's residence 33 Portland Place, W1 for the first time in August and think its a great location for photo shoots, filming and parties. I love its dilapidated Georgian setting and for me epitomises shabby-chic.
Yesterday myself and my boyfriend spent a good ten minutes laughing and taking the piss out of the Dolce and Gabbana advert for their new fragrance The One Gentleman, starring that imbecile Matthew McConaughey. For once the funny thing isn't McConaughey himself (although remembering his ridiculous cameo in Sex and The City is enough to have me laughing), but the hideously bad airbrushing on the ad. Not only does McConaughey look airbrushed to death - his skin is sallow and jaundice and he looks as though the rigamortis has set in, making this image look more like an ad for Madame Tussauds - but his fair hair is a rather suspicious shade of dark brown...
There is always a lot written about the airbrushing of women and how this skewers the body conscious minds of their female fans, which I think is great to highlight, however I think male airbrushing is just as pointless and unnecessary. Are men more likely to buy this product because this Texan twat is advertising it? Sadly, maybe. Are men more likely to buy this aftershave because it makes McConaughey look magically like a shadow of his former self? I think not!
What made me laugh the most about this ad is how malformed McConaughey's mouth looks... However, most importantly, why has one of the wealthiest and world-famous luxury fashion brands signed off on this... I'm baffled and bewildered, but I must say I'm glad they did for entertainment purposes!
My favourite ethical designer - most certainly of 2010 if not of all time - Ada Zanditon has launched a stunning Christmas window display at the Halelujah Store in Brussels, perfectly demonstrating the versatility of her creative and intellectual design approach. Capping off a hugely successful season, Ada was approached to create a display based on her SS11 Pyramora collection. The stark, moody display includes trees inspired by her epic Nepthea dress, utilising her trademark pyramids and iconic symbols of the Christmas tree to create sculptural surfaces using repeating geometric shapes.
With icicles constructed from isosceles triangles, suspended from chains with small silver bells stitched onto the tips so they jingle in the breeze, Adaz has taken the concept one step further incorporating AW10 collection pieces including a puffa jacket displayed on a spiked mannequin standing in the midst of a forest full of icicles. Perpetuating the festive theme and adding a finishing touch to the window display is a unique mobile of halos created from jewellery by Ada Zanditon and Luca Romanyi, which I'm certain will entice shoppers inside the Halelujah store, located on Rue Antoine Dansaert, Brussels.
The year has almost come full circle, and today marks the last offical announcement on the British fashion calendar, allowing us fashion enthusiasts, journalists and bloggers alike to start planning our pre-LFW coverage. No fewer than 18 of London's premiere and upcoming designers have been awarded BFC/ NEWGEN sponsorship for AW11, with many familiar faces returning for another season.
Several weeks ago amongst the chaos of press days I popped down to the Fashion and Textile Museum to preview their newest exhibition, Sue Timney and the design of Timney-Fowler. Having not heard of Sue Timney prior to reading about this inspired exhibition I learnt that her company Timney-Fowler, is best known for its distinctive graphic black and white imagery, transcending the boundaries of fashion and interior design.
With 2010 marking the 30th anniversary of Timney-Fowler, Sue has collaborated extensively with the FTM to bring us a wealth of unique archive material, chronicling her career from the first fabrics created through to her newest projects. Key pieces on display include several black Neoclassical heads, 19th Century cast iron railing designs and the legendary clock face design which has become an iconic symbol of the brand. As always my favourite part of the exhibition were the pages taken from Sue’s sketchbooks; giving me a unique insight into her working practices whilst drooling over her hand-printed short-run fabrics that featured in her original Portobello Shop.
Beginning with Sue’s journey from her early monochromatic work to later designs where she included colour, photographic printing and mixed prints, the exhibition was curated beautifully, giving us a loose timeline of Timney’s illustrious career. Set against a special backdrop created by Sue, the museum came to life with a wall of fabrics and samples; products; scarves and shirts bearing her distinctive designs.
Speaking of her work Sue says: “I don’t think that there was ever a time when it didn’t matter to me what my surroundings looked like. They matter, and have always mattered, in the same way that my appearance and what I wear has always mattered.... Even as a child growing up I learned that you could customize everything.”
With a client list reading like a who’s who of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Timney's best-known clients have included: Ringo Starr, Alan Rickman, Billy Connelly, Sir Paul Smith, Sir Elton John and Stella McCartney, proving she is every bit the creative’s creative.
As snow and icy conditions have been predicted for many of us early next week, I'm escaping and looking ahead to next season where British brand Qasimi have played on the concept of divine beings, creating an altogether ethereal collection. Designed by duo Khalid AlQasimi and Elliot Frieze, the SS11 offering takes the drama and strength of the ancient aesthetic and brings it to life using hand embellishments galore including Swarovski crystals, antique metals, laser-cut mirrors, and intricate beading.
With draping in the finest fabrics, architectural shoulders sit atop delicate chiffons, and sharp classical shapes create space for decadent, extravagant structured silhouettes. With deep turquoise, blood red and burgundy set in contrast to the gold and ornate embroidery, this is a fantastic collection which makes me long for the good food, vibrant colour and sunshine of the Mediterranean.
Many, many weeks ago I attended the Blow PR press day and true to form it was one of the highlights of my season. Its quite hard to put my finger on why exactly I love their client list so much, but I'm pretty sure its because they generally support the newest and most progressive fashion talent around, and I love that they promote designers who don't even retail, which as a member of press and an eager potential consumer is both very exciting and intriguing.
With a really subtle nod to S&M I genuinely love these playful latex rubber costume outfits designed by William Wilde. I love the little details such as PVC bows and frills, which I'm certain are no walk in the park to perfect. Entitled Madame Boucherie, SS11 sees Wilde's inaugural collection - which is all hand-glued - transcend the realms of burlesque to create sexy outfits and lingerie, which is worlds apart from the made-to-measure bridal wear he previously turned his hand to.
Another new designer I spied is Flik Hall, whose third collection, Mannequin Parade showcases her aesthetic for bold silhouettes, captivating prints and penchant for toy limbs (as depicted below)!
A firm favourite whom I've now written about on two previous occasions is Fam Irvoll who has gone to town with oversized florals this season. I especially love the yellow high-waisted skirt (pictured below).
I absolutely love the elegance, timelessness and shift dress simplicity of David Longshaw. With kooky necklaces, embellishments and feathers galore, Longshaw is proof that the devil is in the detail.
Another designer showcasing for the third time is Welsh-born Jayne Pierson with her SS11 collection entitled, Twin Parrallel. Vaguely reminiscent of Vivienne Westwood (I suppose the imitable designer's signature style was bound to influence Pierson during her time working for the Dame), I love the different textures and superhero type colourways, which include lots of gold.
At first I was slightly freaked out, as I'm well known for not being taxidermy's biggest fan, but once I got over my preconceived notions about foxes in particular, I really responded to RP Encore's concept. Using skills I didn't even know were possible RP Encore has deftly turned corpses (among foxes and ravens) into beautiful accessories, taking casts of their claws and teeth, typifying her aesthetic with the fox clutch bag which is surprisingly roomy!
Created by mechanical engineer and metal worker Clare Whit, I absolutely love the costume pieces below, especially the rather heavy soldered platform shoes.
Another designer I love, whom I had in mind when talking about designers who don't actually sell their work is Dean Sidaway, who works as a stylist, design consultant and lecturer at Central Saint Martins. Fingers crossed one day I'll be able to afford to privately commission one of his pieces.
A designer who debuted at LFW back in 2007 is London-based ladieswear designer Ana Sekularac, whose striking designs have been worn by celebrities as versatile as The Noisettes’ Shingai Shoniwa, Pink and Cheryl Cole. Currently based in Belgrade, Sekularac will be making her Paris Fashion Week debut next March. To launch her SS11 collection Sekularac has created a short film entitled The Phaze, which showcases her stunning designs beautifully and has certainly left a lasting impression on my fashion radar.
EMERGING TALENT AWARD – ACCESSORIES: Husam El Odeh
EMERGING TALENT AWARD - READY TO WEAR: Meadham Kirchhoff
DESIGNER BRAND: Mulberry
MODEL: Lara Stone
ACCESSORY DESIGNER: Nicholas Kirkwood
MENSWEAR DESIGNER: Patrick Grant for E. Tautz
BFC OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN FASHION DESIGN: Lee Alexander McQueen
BRITISH STYLE: Alexa Chung
ISABELLA BLOW AWARD FOR FASHION CREATOR: Nicola Formichetti
DESIGNER OF THE YEAR: Phoebe Philo for Celine
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD: Naomi Campbell
DIGITAL INNOVATION AWARD: Burberry
*From left to right: Emma Hill of Mulberry, Meadham Kirchhoff and Phoebe Philo
I'm particularly happy that Phoebe Philo won designer of the year for Celine as she is one of my favourite designers whom I've loved since she worked under Stella McCartney at Chloe in the late '90s. Also pleased to see Formichetti pick up a gong. *Images throughout courtesy of Billa Baldwin
16 British and 16 French teams strode down the track in a minimum of 3.15 inched heels in a bid to seize the stiletto sprinting title! It was a photo finish and despite rallying support from MTV presenter and the UK’s Face of the race Zara Martin, France clinched the title with a winning time of 40 seconds, whilst British teams came an admirable second and third.
A good few weeks ago I popped down to the Nicole Farhi showroom near Carnaby Street for their SS11 press day. Having loved both the props and collections last season I was really looking forward to going back. First off I spied a cool bust in the menswear section (pictured below), and also spotted one of my favourite young actors Louis Garrel in Farhi's mood board ( in the top right hand corner of the mood board, below). Garrel is of The Dreamers and Ma Mere fame and is exceedingly hot...
In terms of the clothing, the mainline Nicole Farhi collection is superb, with stunning watercolour floral prints (pictured below) in iridescent fuchsias and light 'n' luxe fabrics.
I was really happy to see Farhi experimenting a lot more this season combining her more traditional and chic mainline collection - perhaps better known for its cruise and nautical themed wear - with modern innovation in sophisticated fabrics, experimenting heavily with cut and texture. Stand out pieces include the stunning pleated coral dress (pictured below, centre).
Other favourite garments were the rubber dress in white (below, left) and the silk and paper geometric print dress (above, right).
Lots of beautiful detailing caught my eye such as the rope detail red suede dress and '80s style power jacket (both pictured above, right). With plenty of sparkly evening dresses to choose from as well this is Farhi at her best.
Keeping the theme going throughout I love the nautical details dotted around the menswear section with the shoes (above, right) displayed casually on rope and a boat suspended buoys and all, from the showroom ceiling.
As my SS11 press day posts are almost at an end, I'm giving away a little goody bag of peripheral goody bag gifts/ samples to one lucky Twitter follower. At the moment I'm hovering around 250 followers and would love to reach 350 by 31st December. If you retweet the comp and follow you'll be in with a chance of winning. The winner will be announced on NYE. The Prize includes:
*£50 Beatrix Ong voucher
*Pandora charm bracelet
*Marc Cain perfume pen
*CO-OP Designers bracelet
*Aveda Dry Remedy conditioner sample
*Fairtrade lavender soap
*Scholl Party Feet pads
*Scholl Crackling Ice foot spray
*Macadamia Deep Repair Masque (for hair)
*Macadamia Healing oil treatment (for hair)
*Adriano GoldSchmied ticket wallet and key chain
*L*Space spearmint lip balm
A brand I cannot gush about enough is Hobbs, whose NW3 range I am particularly obsessed with and have been for the past three seasons. A couple of Wednesdays ago I was running really late so only had about ten minutes to look at the new collection before work, which thankfully proved to be just enough time. Once again Hobbs have triumphed on all counts creating three stunning ranges, solidifying them as one of my favourite high-street brands of 2010. From the mainline collection (above) I love the late '60s/ early '70s Jackie O vibe coming through in the hourglass silhouettes, oversized sunglasses and monochrome chic (which also slightly reminds me of Grace Kelly). Simple elegance at its best. In terms of accessories wedge heels and structured handbags are de rigueur, with more playful illustrations and colours than I've seen previously.
As always, Hobbs Limited Edition for SS11 is beautifully tailored, with an array of rich colours and textures. I particularly like the orange military-style silk dress (below, centre, right) and the monochrome ruffle detail shift (pictured below, far right).
For NW3 -named after the north London postcode - it was business as usual. I am in love with the busy patterns and rich pastel shades and really like the geometric print dress (below, right). I also like how the collection has been presented, with key outfits displayed separately in front of backdrops of the corresponding print. It was a really nice touch, but served to get me thinking about the endless pattern clash possibilities.
Love the cute navy blouse with ribbon waist tie detail (below, left) and can't wait to try on the autumnal looking printed silk maxi (below, right).
Whilst I love the dresses in the images below, even more do I love the yellow velvet futon. I need to track one down...
Lots of mid-low heels were teamed with the immaculately styled mannequins. I particularly like the suede ballet pumps (below, left) and I love the structured lime mock-croc handbag (pictured centre).
All photographs on this site are the property of Creative-Idle/ Rachael Oku. Other images taken by third parties are credited within the relevant post. If you would like to use any of my photographs please ask.