Sunday 31 January 2010

The Tower of London

Yesterday I went on a family day out to the Tower of London. I wasn't really that enthused about going, but once we got there it wasn't so bad, although I enjoyed the views and the ravens (my favourite birds) way more than I did the crown jewels!
I felt a little bit uneasy about the Coldstream Guard's busby's since learning that they use nearly the full pelt of a Canadian black bear to make just one...

Friday 29 January 2010

London College of Fashion MA_10 Human catwalk show

Imagery throughout courtesy of Creative-Idle, unless stated otherwise.
Last night the world and his wife were out in full force for the MA_10 Human catwalk showcase held in the serene Raphael Gallery within a closed Victoria and Albert Museum.

As one of the first to worm my way into the gallery – after enjoying the champagne reception in the foyer – myself and H were in prime position to spot who was arriving and who was falling down the stairs! As you might expect taking pride of place in the front row was the Daily Telegraph’s Hilary Alexander who rather deftly walked up along the front row to jot down which other famous faces were to be in attendance – clearly a lady well versed in documenting fashion shows!

Representing the British Fashion Industry were head of the British Fashion Council (and owner of brands Jaeger and Aquascutum); Harold Tillman, Editor-in-chief of; Dolly Jones and a naturally beautiful and healthy looking Amber Le Bon; the new model of the moment fronting campaigns for Myla and River Island. Also present were founder of On I Off; Lee Lapthorne – who last season forayed into the fashion fore launching a range of scarves – and Jaana Jatyri; founder of Representing the music sphere was Mika who – thankfully not singing - appeared in good form chatting away with Jodie Harsh (whom he arrived and left with). Between Jodie Harsh and 2003 Turner Prize winning potter; Grayson Perry, the front row was awash with bouncy blonde hair extensions and wigs – and enough glitter to make Tinkerbell jealous!

To my great surprise I saw several familiar faces starting with one of the champagne waiter’s Joe, whom I worked alongside at a wedding last month. Also in attendance were not one, but two Tony’s who both formerly lectured me in ways of Fashion Promotion before departing for greener pastures at LCF a few years back. Another familiar face from said university was an old classmate Siavash – recently for his stint in Big Brother 10, where I do believe he came second.

So there I was in the thick of it getting settled into my back-row seat when H made a break for the hallowed pews of the front row where we were allowed to take the place of a privileged couple who couldn’t grace us with their presence – luckily for me. From my front row seat (did I mention that we were opposite Hilary Alexander no less?) I settled in to watch the MA designer showcase. With a modicum of seven menswear shows from 19, last night was most definitely ladies night.

With several stand-out collections, it was hard to predict who might win the awards, but one thing was for sure – these designers will be hot on the heels of the fashion pack when they debut next season.
Sophie Condie
Among those who commanded my attention were Sophie Condie; whose women looked like birds flitting down the runway. With many of the garments painstakingly hand finished with feathers, the attention to detail was phenomenal. What really stood out from this collection for me, was how well it partnered the dramatic, yet beautifully sculptural headpieces designed by Rob Goodwin (MA Fashion Footwear) who also designed the out-of-this-world footwear which innovatively featured several nails as features – and as the spike heels themselves.
Rob Goodwin, image courtesy of LCF
Another women’s wear design whose collection was well received, was that of Eliana Dimitriakopoulou whose garments all featured brightly coloured dyed faux-fur, which on first sighting (without my much-needed-glasses) looked like the Muppets doing a star turn on the catwalk.
Eliana Dimitriakopoulou
Eliana Dimitriakopoulou, courtesy of LCF
With chic separates and faux-fur jackets peppered here and there, the main garments were a variety of dress shapes and cuts which each featured the acid-bright faux-fur on the front and were sheer black at the backs with full length zip detail. My favourite dress from this collection was a pared-down soft faux-fur asymmetric dress which whilst looking simple in its draped construction, was a real gem which solidified Dimitriakopoulou’s credentials as a designer to watch due to both her technical abilities and versatility.
Eliana Dimitriakopoulou
Another stand out designer was Steve Corcoran; whose neutrally toned menswear collection, of mirror encrusted military regalia, turned the Raphael Gallery into a mini-disco (and most probably blinded every photographer in attendance, including myself, hence the lack of pictures).
Steve Corcoran
One of my favourite collections was the androgynous menswear designed by Thomas Miller. Whilst the clothing was well designed, it was a bit too muted for me, so instead I got very excited about the accompanying accessories designed by Sarah Williams (MA Fashion Artefact).
Sarah Williams- bag
I already love old leather briefcases, vanity cases, and all other 60s inspired luggage, so naturally I fell in love with Sarah’s take on these classic items. Each bag was beautifully structured, yet still maintained a playful element as the line was slightly off, making the bags look highly individual in a purposefully skew-whiff way – adding lots of charm to Thomas’ collection.
Sarah Williams, image courtesy of LCF
Whilst on the subject of accessories I also really liked the shoes worn by many of the male models in the opening collection by Keiko Kida. Whilst it is slightly ambiguous as to whether Keiko actually designed and constructed these double-brogues himself, I loved them none the less. **update**The designer was kind enough to get in touch and let me know that he did indeed make and design the shoes himself!
Keiko Kida
Twelfth to hit the runway was the collection which caused much controversy – that of Merve Tuna. Holding no victims she proudly sent her female models down the catwalk in what animal lovers and animal rights activist groups (such as PETA) would find highly disturbing– dead animals.
Merve Tuna
Not only featuring fur, there were enough paws, faces and trotters decorating each garment to drive a taxidermist to distraction! Unfortunately from the front row (am I seriously complaining about that?!) I got an horrendous close-up of what can only be described as a boar-face bag (sadly I was too shocked to click with the camera). ** Found one **
Merve Tuna, image courtesy of Dazed Digital
Whilst his designs were innovatively forward-thinking they clearly aren’t the garments that (if any from the 19 collections shown) you’d expect to see hanging up in a shop anytime soon, no-matter how boutique-y.
Merve Tuna
What was very apparent throughout the show, was the clear sense of humour shining through the direction, reflected in sometimes apt song choices - such as ‘Crazy’ by Patsy Cline for Merve Tuna’s rather off-beat taxidermy heavy show, and also reflected the more bizarre - with Soo Youn Seo sending her models out to the Simpson’s theme tune.
Young Li Lee
My favourite designer of the night was the outstanding Young Li Lee, whose sculptural embroidered lace dresses really stole the show. Super elegant structured bodices and pencil skirts shined forth, each embellished uniquely by overstitching, appliquéd lace, or bondage-esque braces, with each built-up beautifully and finished with such delicate attention to detail that the results were simply breathtaking.
Young Li Lee
Harold Tillman (centre)
After the finale Harold Tillman was called to the catwalk to present the awards. In hindsight it was Technicolor that the winners knew who they were as they were the penultimate and last designers to show which meant that when their names were announced the female and male models respectively were still wearing the winning collections – you see what they did? So enough of the suspense, up first with an award for ‘Commendation’ (that’s silver to you and I), was the superb Young Li Lee.
Young Li Lee collecting her award
Sven Hoppe collecting his award
Closing the show and therefore cleaning the board was Sven Hoppe who was presented with the ‘Prestigious’ Student Collection of the Year Award.

Private View
MA Fashion Artefact, MA Fashion Curation, MA Fashion Footwear
Thursday 4th February 18.30 - 20.30 Mall Galleries

Private View
MA Digital Fashion and MA Fashion Photography
Thursday 11th February 18.30 - 20.30 Mall Galleries

Wednesday 27 January 2010

There's a new Choo in town...

Imagery throughout courtesy of Jimmy Choo

Forget Jimmy Choo's capsule range for H+M, that's old news now and for the lucky few that got their mitts on a pair- congratulations! (She says through gritted teeth.) It seems that poor old Tamara Mellon has been working non stop, as last week I heard whispers of a new collection launching alongside the mainline SS10, and lo and behold they were right!
CHOO 24:7 is the 'perfect shoe wardrobe' with updated versions of Tamara's favourite styles in a variety of colours, materials and heel heights.
So if you're not content with all the Choo's currently in circulation - or have been eagerly waiting for some to be re-issued - you can now have Tamara's favourites too, so let the shoe shopping commence!

Monday 25 January 2010


If you do anything next month I would highly recommend going to see Jez Butterworth's play Jerusalem at the Apollo Theatre. I went to see it when it was showing at the Royal Court way back in August and wrote about it previously. Since then its won several accolades at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, including Best Actor for male lead Mark Rylance, and Best Play.

Saturday 23 January 2010

The Big Swish

On Thursday myself and my sister attended the London leg of The Big Swish UK Roadshow held at Tiger Tiger in Piccadilly Circus. For the organisers, securing such a central venue must have seemed like a coup - in terms of the ample space inside - but for me it just felt a bit weird having hundreds of discerning fashionistas descend on what I would describe as a venue only frequented by tourists.
So there we were in Tiger Tiger trudging through the semi-full dining area in this three story bar in our hundreds. What ensued was a lot of waiting clustered around the stairway which led down to the basement’s nightclub where the night’s festivities were scheduled to take place. Whilst the wait was pretty ridiculous I was just glad not to be a diner as if I was made to enjoy my meal with a side order of 200 people cramming around my table I would have been (more) pissed off to say the least.

When the festivities finally got underway there was an ‘underwear’ fashion show and a hideous auction that didn’t do much to help raise funds for Cancer Research UK. Luckily we avoided most of it but when the bidding began for an unsightly Lady Gaga donated Dolce and Gabbana leopard-print ‘dress’ – which looked more like something one might wear to bed for a saucy night in – the hapless compare was so clueless that he quipped ‘This is D&G, why are you bidding in £5 instalments, its Gaga!’ With the response being that he was too stupid to realise that it was his job to set the pace of the bidding – hello, has he never mistakenly caught an episode of Flog It?

Frustrated at having to wait for so long and watch the evening painfully gain momentum, the Swish was finally declared ‘open’ so down the stairs we all went with several over-eager twats creating a massive crush which saw my SLR digital camera nearly break and worse still, a lady on crutches tumble down a step or two  – not a good start I’m sure you’ll agree.

After waiting to get our stuff checked in earlier in the evening everyone was supposed to go away so the staff could do their thing, but as it turned out a select few staked out the rails and grouped together things they wanted. That meant that when the 180 strong rule-following swishers got through we found that all of the good items had been squirreled away, with the remaining items being saved – if only for an evening - from their collective destiny to live out the rest of its days at the bottom of a charity shop bargain bucket!

To make matters worse, as we were swishing in a nightclub basement it was pretty dark and what little light there was came courtesy of dance floor spotlights. I actually witnessed several swishers inspecting the interiors of handbags and shoes (and performing the obligatory once over for pit stains) with the lights of their mobile phone screens.

I lucked out on a couple of items, but neither my sister nor I left with as many items as we’d arrived with. In her desperation my sister very nearly walked away with a top that I myself had donated to the Swish – which I think says it all! As with several other clothes swaps I’ve attended in the past year, this too ended in disappointment.

So a word to the wise, if I may: For all those who want to get new clothes – without spending money on the high street – avoid all the stresses of swishing with strangers and throw your own swap, inviting only your most stylish and non-aggressive friends.

Here are the items I walked away with:

Marks & Spencer's Limited Editon dress

Vintage smock

Topshop jacket

H+M silk square scarf

Thursday 21 January 2010

Louis Vuitton - Animania Collection

Imagery throughout courtesy of Louis Vuitton
As always I'm just that little bit behind the times (shrugs nonchalantly) but even though they've been on sale for a week - after hitting UK stores on 14th Jan - they're so pretty that I don’t really care. This inspired new range is comprised of super-cute squirrel, rooster, rabbit and dove shaped monogram leather coin purses, clutch bags, key rings and printed scarves. As prices start around £200 I doubt I’ll be inheriting one any time soon so what can I do but recommend them…

I’m lead to believe that the Animania collection is inspired by the brands own heritage. Nearly a hundred years ago the Vuitton family made little wooden toys, examples of which were found in the Maison's archives. Reneé Vuitton, Gaston Louis Vuitton's wife apparently loved to collect the wooden toys and years later (in 1954) Gaston honored her hobby by dedicating an entire floor a new Avenue Marceau store to the vast collection.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Shoes to lust over courtesy of Where Fashion

I'm in the process of writing an article about an ethical designer brand called Where Fashion who have designed these beautiful, beautiful shoes for SS10. If only I wasn't 5'11"!

DSquared2 @ Milan Fashion Week

Perhaps it’s just me but upon turning the page in this morning's Metro I was pretty horrified to see shots from DSquared2' recent fashion show at Milan Fashion Week. I know fashion is supposed to be light-hearted and sometimes tongue-in-cheek, but really at the risk of sounding twice my age – 46 - why was it necessary to send the models down the catwalk covered with bloodied noses and make-up made to look like cuts and bruises? Does this mean that all Dsquared2 clothing from the AW10 collection has to be worn with a badge of violence? The sceptic in me thinks it’s probably an ill advised PR stunt to promote the hockey vibe channelled in the collection, but I’m pretty horrified that they expect to sell clothes by promoting violence. I don’t know maybe I’m over reacting...?