Brooke Roberts is another designer I met whilst working at Amelia’s Magazine and is incidentally the first person I ever interviewed. Having followed her work at the On|Off exhibition each season, this year at the Somerset House exhibition it was a lovely surprise to bump into Brooke and hopefully I’m a bit different to the bashful person who quizzed her in 2009 about her unique and intriguing combination of knitwear and radiography.
After interviewing Brooke in her Hackney studio I remember quite clearly going home, being inspired and thinking that there aren’t really enough nice words to describe Brooke. She’s super-smart, extremely passionate and is extremely gifted. Whilst it must be extremely hard juggling working for the NHS with managing, designing and sourcing for your own label, Brooke juggles with great aplomb and I’d bet good money this Australian loves every minute of what she does.
Showing as part of Estethica, I met wonderful womenswear designers Marc Ross (top collection), who makes exciting geometric and oscillating prints and Iona Crawford (towards the bottom), who creates sleek silhouettes in the most beautiful of silks.
A show I was unexpectedly invited to, Dans La Vie are a brand that ashamedly before SS12, I wasn’t too familiar with, however after seeing their beautiful colour-infused collection I’ve seen the light!
Held in the resplendent upstairs gallery of Freemasons Hall, for their second collection shown in London, Dans La Vie’s My Pop Madonna continues to play with a theme centred on clashing prints and colours, seeing the SS12 offering deeply inspired by Tokyo in the aftermath of March 2011’s devastating earthquakes.
Split into four sub-sections, My Pop Madonna was divided by four anthems, fittingly Madonna’s Like A Prayer opened the show, Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black and Rihanna’s Only Girl came next with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way making for a great finale packed with attitude.
I think what I love most about this collection is twofold. Firstly, the repetition of the iconic Virgin Mary iconography is inspired, and I also love the printed raincoats and pleated balloon skirts which had been laminated with a thin plastic, to make them both waterproof and super shiny.
Each season (AW10, SS11) the primary highlight of my LFW isn’t the ultra glamorous shows, the press lounge or after parties, instead it’s the FAD show which usually always takes places at Vauxhall Fashion Scout on the last day of the women’s schedule. With SS12 being no different, creative charity FAD put on a corker of a show with all of the 25 talented teenagers from London and Manchester, putting on a great display of youth talent.
2011 FAD JUNIOR AWARDS Winner_Sabine Bindere
Now in its seventh year, the Fashion Futures initiative aims to provide teenagers with a realistic insight into what it means to work in the creative industries. FAD encourages hands on experience and uses fashion as a tool to develop vocational and professional skills, helping disengaged teenagers get on track in both their professional and personal lives.
Unfortunately there can only be one winner. Originally selected from 100 young people who participated in FAD’s Fashion Futures 2 workshops earlier this year, the 25 finalists spent a week at the FAD Summer School, held at the University of East London. Supported by a team of tutors and student mentors, the 16 – 19 year olds had only 5 days in which to construct their designs for the catwalk final.
At last month’s show and award presentation 17-year-old Sabine Bindere, from Barking + Dagenham College earned the top accolade. Praised by the industry judging panel for its edgy wearability, Sabine’s double hooded dress featured a unique graffiti paint print created by the designer herself, earning her a two week design placement with FAD retail partner George at Asda.
2011 FAD JUNIOR AWARDS Runner-up_Yasemin Cakli
Runner-up, and winner of a two week placement with Marks + Spencer, was 17-year-old Yasemin Cakli from City + Islington College for her fluoro orange jumpsuit and print trimmed plastic cape. Two additional awards were also presented on the evening to Gemma Halliwell, 17, from Bury College (Manchester) for Commercial Design and Francesca Espinosa-Baster, 18 from St.Philomena’s Catholic School for Girls (South London) for Innovative Design + Cut.
David Longshaw is a designer I adore. Bursting with quirky stories and illustrations, each season’s theme is inspired by a short story with this season’s being Father Said...
“For this season I’ve written a story called Father Said about a girl who takes her boyfriend on a fateful seaside trip. As well as creating the story and illustrations, I’m also working on a short animation of the story depicting the main protagonist, Sophie wearing pieces from the new collection. Father Said starts off with all going well. Sophie takes her boyfriend on her trip to the seaside…”
“The sun is shining, they have fish and chips and walk on the beach then they spot the chance to row to Puffin Island. With all the talk of puffins, as she rows, Sophie suddenly has a flashback to a nightmare she had after reading a sweet book her boyfriend had given her, about a puffin with a disproportionate head, with one eye big and one eye small. She suddenly lashes out with the oars in hand and smashes her boyfriend over the head with one. The blow is fatal… so as all rational people do, she rows to shore and buries him – planting flowers over where he lays. For the rest of her life she plans to wear a flower each day in his memory.”
Deftly utilising collaborator Kirsty Ward’s chunky statement jewellery to great effect, Longshaw has also teamed up with milliner Katherine Lee this season on a special show piece. Walking a perfect line between tough and whimsical, Longshaw’s beautiful and characterful illustrations no doubt offer his customers individuality and empowerment in equal measures.
A designer I met last season at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, Kirsty Ward’s exhibition space at Somerset House in September was neatly tucked towards the end of the main exhibition at an adjacent stand to her boyfriend’s, David Longshaw.
Reworking and building upon her full debut collection, SS12 sees Ward explore her fascination with sheer fabrics further, incorporating more of her eye-catching jewellery directly into her designs as rather weighty embellishments.
Working with neon and neoprene, the collection features suspended layers of blue organza cut-out and joined with delicate brass chains, a plethora of metal hooks and rivets galore. Incorporating body-con lingerie into her repertoire for the inaugural time (in collaboration with underwear label Mint Siren), Ward’s SS12 offering evokes a sensual mood and silhouette harking back to the 1960s.
Combining the aesthetics of sport and luxury, Ward’s beautiful garments are definitely on the experimental side, in the sense that there is no way you can blend into the crowd in one of her quirky signature designs.
Collaborating with Swarovski, larger-than-life necklaces feature heavily as do a multitude of coloured chains casually draped over cotton dresses and sheer tops.
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.