Friday, 26 August 2011

Brand Of The Week: David Longshaw

A designer who has been on my radar since my first foray into fashion journalism whilst at Amelia’s Magazine, I have followed the career of David Longshaw eagerly - especially in recent seasons - coveting the wonderful accessories made in conjunction with his girlfriend and incidentally SIX Magazine favorite, Kirsty Ward for the past two seasons.
An esteemed illustrator having won the Colin Barnes Drawing Prize in 2005, Longshaw has an unrivalled talent for creating individualist characters that centre in his own narrative stories. Sponsored by Swarovski Elements garments are sculptural, colourful and in short, match Longshaw’s signature to a tee. Longshaw’s work is witty, imaginative, thought-provoking and above all; beautiful. For the first time AW11 sees the designer collaborate on a capsule footwear collection with footwear designer Heather Blake.
The AW11 collection is inspired by the following shirt story:
‘Seriously Rose, I can’t bloody believe it here, they’ve stuck me in the middle of sodding nowhere with these religious nuts who expect me to go to church with them and sit shitting cross stitching by the fire ‘of an eve.’ What do they think it is, the bloody 15thCentury?’ They don’t drink and they don’t f****ing swear. There’s no one my age I’ve met other than one or two who are destined to die virgins unless one of them changes sex and their parents force them in to an arranged marriage to procreate more dull, wierd looking bastards! ‘Don’t even get me started on the sodding birds! It’s supposed to be quiet in the countryside, but every morning at 5am all I get is bloody tweet, tweet, tweet; they even tap on the window- I thought it was someone at the front door at first. It’s a nightmare when you’ve got a hangover. I managed to smuggle in some booze but I’m running low.’ Tora, a wayward girl, gets sent to live with her tea-total, religious, cross stitching, aunt and uncle in the middle of nowhere, to try get her on the straight and narrow. She takes a soft toy named Frank with her, which has a pet shoe and a love of whisky.

Having fallen in love with Longshaw’s forthcoming AW11 collection at the Iroquois press day back in April, I can’t wait to see what VOGUE.com’s ‘Designer to Watch 2011’ and ELLE’s ‘Rising star of 2011’ will have in store

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Friday, 19 August 2011

Brand Of The Week: Traffic People

Last week I was invited down to the Kingly Court store of hip young label Traffic People to view the new AW11 collection. Filled to the rafters with statement dresses and a plethora of Japanese inspired prints, I was in heaven. Greeted by the lovely Sister PR team I enjoyed sipping champagne the ladylike way, from a beautiful array of mismatching bone china. Right up my street with retro kitsch props and accessories, I could have spent hours taking in the fashion and beautiful red velvet cupcakes.
Invited to try on pieces from the new range, my favourites were the Japanese and peplum snake print dresses in a variety of blues and white and some of the light knits. With animal prints, sequins and a relaxed 60s vibe; the collection is very much mix and match with some grunge inspired pieces juxtaposed with pretty evening and tea dresses. Shying away from lots of monotonous black, I was really impressed with the vibrancy of the collection, which I had to be reminded a couple of times was for winter, and will be available in store from late August.
With prices for garments starting at as little as £39, quality trend-led fashion has never been so affordable.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Creative-Idle featured on the Wardrobe Mistress blog

Earlier in the week I met with Willow Magic of fantastic e-tailer Wardrobe Mistress for a brief Q+A on my personal style.

**This week Willow Magic met the fabulous creative Rachael Oku, Founder of Creative-Idle blog and Associate Editor of Six Magazine

Name: Rachael Oku
Profession: Blogger/Founder of Creative-Idle, Associate Editor of SIX Magazine and Sub-Editor.
Location: London
Passion: The worlds of fashion and modern art
I work in fashion because… I get to meet and work with a wide array of brilliantly creative people and rarely are two days ever the same. It’s thrilling to call something I will always do as a hobby my job. That said, I have always had a love/ hate relationship with fashion: sometimes I feel it is too frivolous a pursuit, but most days I cannot contain my excitement for the latest collections…
What makes my work interesting… is the variety. As the founder of a blog and website I call the shots and have creative freedom, enabling me to write about and embark on projects that truly interest me. Working for SIX Magazine is a dream as I am constantly challenged to find new S&E designers to feature, and hopefully I’m helping to propel S&E fashion further into the mainstream consciousness.

I get my fashion inspiration from … novels such as The Great Gatsby and Vile Bodies and old 40s and 50s films. Favorites are classics such as All About Eve, Gilda, and How to Marry A Millionaire. TV show Mad Men sums up the style of most of my vintage fashion choices, and I am, like most women, guilty of being inspired by fashion magazines. The Glamour Of The Gods; Hollywood Portraits exhibition currently showing at The National Portrait Gallery sums up the aesthetic I strive to achieve.
My Style in a sentence is… ever changing, although I must admit it is largely dependent on my mood and the weather when I wake up. At the moment I’m loving smart masculine accessories and the ensuing intrigue of men on the tube!

My luxury must-have item is… can I say my Paul Smith glasses? Necessary and stylish in equal measure.
What’s your best Style advice… simply to be yourself. When I was younger I bought into fads as I wanted to look like my peers, but in recent years I’ve realized that there is nothing better than looking like yourself – unique. My top tip would be; dress to show off your personality!
Wardrobe must haves:
A good pair of brogues
A staple pair of tried and tested jeans that match everything
Black suit / tux jacket
Structured handbag (preferably vintage, very Betty Draper/ Margaret Thatcher)
Cases full of vintage statement accessories
Beautiful printed fabrics
Most treasured item in your wardrobe and why… This would have to be my new embossed leather briefcase that I got earlier this month from Camden Stables Market. I’m a sucker for all things vintage (this is from the 40s or 50s), and goes perfectly with the preppy/ masculine look I’m rocking at the moment. Alternatively I still love my vintage navy Dior handbag that I’ve had for about a decade.
What is your favorite piece on the Wardrobe Mistress site right now… a very tough choice, but I’d have to say the khaki coloured Dolce + Gabbana party dress – it’s gorgeous and a bargain too!**

Visit the Wardrobe Mistress website to read the article in full.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Monday, 15 August 2011

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Kipling and Silver Spoon Attire at Selfridges II

If you haven't had your bag customised yet, you've got one last chance during LFW: 17th September, John Lewis, Stratford, London.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Art-iculate: The Jameel Prize 2011

Last month I was invited down to the V+A to look around the press preview of the ten Jameel Prize 2011 nominees. A competition held bi-annually to identify the best in contemporary Islamic art and crafts, there is an inspiring prize of £25,000 which will be claimed by the winner on 12th September.
The exhibition features over 20 works that draws strongly on the artists’ and designers’ own local and regional traditions, celebrating particular materials and iconography with strong references to traditional Islamic art.
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian’s Birds of Paradise (2008)
The works on display range from felt costumes and sculptures made from hand-made terracotta bricks to mirror mosaics and digital collages inspired by traditional Persian miniature paintings. In many of the works on display there is an underlying reference to the artists’ own ‘hybrid’ cultural identity; the mix of old and new, minimalism versus ornament, tradition and modernity, and home versus exile – topics of self-identity that are becoming increasingly relevant in modern society.
 Aisha Khalid’s Name, Class, Subject (2009)
The V+A announced the shortlist for this year’s Jameel Prize at Art Dubai. Almost 200 nominations were received, from countries as diverse as the United States, Spain, Nigeria, Egypt and Pakistan.
Soody Sharifi’s two prints Frolicking Women in the Pool (2007) and Fashion Week (2010)
The Jameel Prize is sponsored by Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI). The prize was conceived after the renovation of the V+A’s Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art, which opened in July 2006. . Launched in 2009, the winner of the first Jameel Prize was Afruz Amighi for her work 1001 Pages (2008), an intricate hand-cut screen made from the woven plastic used to construct refugee tents.
Babak Golkar's Negotiating the Space for Possible Coexistencies No. 2 (2009)
British award-winning architect Zaha Hadid is Patron of the Jameel Prize. She says: "It is a very exciting time for artists working in Islamic art tradition, there is a real spirit of innovation and creativity in the air. Their work now goes beyond established painting, sculpture and calligraphy to explore new media and reflect the diverse cultures and histories of the region. This work has evolved with its own characteristic voice, exploring future possibilities, yet is derived from rich cultural traditions and a timeless history. For millennia, the Islamic arts and sciences have bridged the cultural divide between East and West, teaching us that these worlds are not mutually exclusive, but rather layered upon each other and profoundly interlinked. The Jameel Prize gives us a very promising outlook to the future and I am pleased to see the region's artists pushing new boundaries."
Aisha Khalid
Within the exhibition I discovered the work of several artists whose work was emotive and thought provoking. Expecting to find a labyrinth of rooms, I was pleasantly surprised to see the main exhibition contained within one space, helping to build a relationship and sense of solidarity between the artists.
Hadieh Shafie's 22500 and Two Scroll Books (2011), with detail below
With over 20 to choose from it’s hard to narrow down my favourite work to one. Favourites include: Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian’s Birds of Paradise (2008) a work that demonstrates her distinctive style of adapting and combining Iranian traditions of mirror mosaic and reverse glass painting techniques with a modern aesthetic. Also, Aisha Khalid’s Name, Class, Subject (2009), an artist book inspired by the exercise or ‘copy books’ used by government schools in Pakistan to teach writing in Urdu and English, is inspired. More traditional works such as Soody Sharifi’s two prints Frolicking Women in the Pool (2007) and Fashion Week (2010) explore the accommodation of modernity within a traditional society, particularly referencing Muslim youth culture in Iran and the United States.
Noor Ali Chagani's Life Line (2010)
The Jameel Prize 2011 is on display until 25th September, free of charge.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Scrapbook: Riots and Looting in Woolwich

The morning after the night before. My street is unrecognisable, starting with the view from my front door.