Wednesday 29 February 2012

LFW Diary AW12: Hedonism

Charlie le Mindu
One of the best parts of LFW is the static exhibitions, where you get to marvel at the latest creations up close, and this season was no exception.

J Smith Esq
Once again teaming up with Royal Ascot, the British Fashion Council showcased a selection of British milliners under the moniker ‘Hedonism’. Featuring work by Charlie le Mindu, Piers Atkinson, J Smith Esquire, William Chambers and Noel Stewart, this was only part of the project which will see the racecourse host an installation during Royal Ascot in June.

Piers Atkinson
Curated by world-renowned milliner Stephen Jones, the ‘Hedonism’ initiative celebrates the new wave of emerging British based hatters.
 Noel Stewart
William Chambers

LFW Diary AW12: People Tree

To kick LFW off with a bang the cool people in the world of sustainable and ethical fashion [Safia Minney (People Tree CEO and Founder) and Harriet Lamb (Director of the Fairtrade Foundation)] invited journalists and celebs such as the lovely Alexa Chung to party. Combining a preview of their AW12 collection with the forthcoming Fairtrade Fortnight (Feb 27th – March 9th) it was a night of celebration.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

LFW Diary AW12: Reclaim To Wear

A new collaboration was born this season for Estethica: Orsola de Castro, creative director of eco-pioneer label From Somewhere and Reclaim To Wear, an organisation that labels upcycled capsule collections, showcased the sustainable collections of Central Saint Martins students.
Ten teams of eight students from Central Saint Martins’ fashion courses were challenged to make an upcycled capsule collection by adopting Reclaim To Wear’s method of producing clothes using the fashion industry's surplus including stock, remnants and off-cuts. Each team was briefed to create a catwalk piece and two ‘commercial’ pieces, in addition to a look-book and a short film for their autumn project.

Monday 27 February 2012

LFW Diary AW12: David Longshaw

A designer who creates witty illustrations and fun-filled stories that result in bright and vivacious garments is David Longshaw.
This AW12 sees his famous cult-character Maude share the centre stage with protagonist Lucia:
*Having fallen down a hole and in to a dress Lucia (who is trying to escape a frightfully dull wedding) is a tad surprised to be greeted by two talking fabric mice; Maude and Doris. In turn Maude is surprised to hear Lucia has no idea who she is.
‘How can you not know who I am! I'm Maude, Editor-in-Chief of MAUDEZINE, the future fashion bible’...
Fashion waits for no man or fabric mouse.*

Longshaw originally devised Maude, the fashion fabric mouse while studying at Central Saint Martins and since the character has been recreated in 100% cashmere by Saville Row tailor Richard James.

Creating a collection that could be classed as ‘transitional’, the emphasis is on form, with cocoon silhouettes and statement shoulders taking centre stage: beautiful prints of illustrated characters and florals evoke summer.
Collaborating with Kirsty Ward for the fifth consecutive season on jewellery, Longshaw once again renews his relationship with milliner Katherine Lee to create to exquisite Maude pieces.

LFW Diary AW12: Kirsty Ward

A designer whose bold silhouettes, originality and statement jewellery I adore is Kirsty Ward who is set to debut her AW12 collection during Paris Fashion Week.
Staying true to the signature aesthetic that fans and press alike have come to love over the past three seasons, Ward has opted for clean lines, minimalist shapes and defined structures, incorporating tabards and apron fronts; adding an additional layer and extra length to dresses, skirts and shorts.
Utilising a simple and modest colour palette of grey, white and black, greens and pinks are carefully placed – primarily in the form of embellishment – to inject some soul into the most clinical of Ward’s collections to date.
Doubling up as a blank canvas on which to promote Ward’s intricate and ornate jewellery garments embody a collection of two halves and a master-class in the art of balancing restraint with indulgence.

Working with print for the first season the results are breathtaking, further establishing Ward as an all-round designer who greatly deserves the many accolades and plaudits she has garnered since founding her eponymous label in 2010.
Oversized abstract images dominate, seeing fabric detailing and prints of instantly recognisable jewellery components emblazoning silk vests and tunics. Once more Ward has renewed her ongoing collaboration with Swarovski Crystallized Elements to fuse her fashion and jewellery design skills, embellishing often overlooked functional areas such as fastenings and arm holes through to the front panels of dresses.
A designer whose collections I look forward to seeing each season, Ward embodies the three keys to great design; bold cut, defined structure and powerful embellishment – this year’s graduates should take note.

Images throughout courtesy of Kirsty Ward:
Photography: Martin Zahringer
Styling: Victoria Sekrier (Fashion Ed at SIX Magazine)
Hair: Banksy
Make up: Natilie Piacun
Model: Olga @ Profile

LFW Diary AW12: Ada Zanditon (part 2)

Introducing her new collection, ‘Simia Mineralis’ via an enthralling film presentation on the inaugural day of this season’s LFW, Ada Zanditon’s AW12 collection is a triumph. With a title meaning ‘ape of the mineral’, Zanditon’s new offering depicts ‘the human thirst for technology and the consequences of our greed for it’ through an intense colour palette of red, grey and black.
A journey of awaking, the collection deftly uses expressions of shape and form to explore the past, present and future of the human race. Signature silhouettes are reworked, taking inspiration from the structure of metals at the atomic level and layers of the earth from an archaeological yet modern perspective.
With an undercurrent of the Victorian era bubbling beneath the surface, prints are inspired by Pan, the god of nature and the wild, created from intricate repetitions of the designer’s drawings, photographs and paintings of animals.
In keeping with the film short directed by Thomas Knights, the mood and tone of ‘Simia Mineralis’ is frantic and conflicted, seeing swathes of silk geometric prints drawn together effortlessly to create a plethora of glamorous evening dresses and staple jackets and coats.
The showpiece of the collection is a dramatic, yet elegant conceptual tailcoat inspired by the Silverback male gorilla and features a shock of sustainably sourced human hair – highlighting a controversial and expanding sector of the hair and beauty industry. An animal with whom humans share 95-99% of our DNA, Zanditon has an affinity for the Silverback gorilla, exploring the impact of mining on primate species and the consequences of human conflict and poaching which result in increased habitat loss.

An immensely gifted and intellectual designer, Zanditon is in her own league, eschewing cyclical trends and mainstream inspirations to instead reflect her passion for ecology and in particular conservation, exploring the individual and social struggles to resolve both natural and manmade conflicts through a series of simple choices.

A collection of juxtapositions, there is a tension between fluid shapes and strong structures throughout, with a range of textures and cuts creating a cacophony of beautiful garments of varying volume. A scholar of sustainability, this season sees Zanditon work with several luxurious S+E fabrics including fair-trade organic velvet, denim and cotton sateen, British woven wool, up-cycled Chanel tweeds, eel skin and vegetable-tan leather.

Keeping waste to a bare minimum, Zanditon has gone one step further for AW12, reapplying fabric residue from her SS12 collection to create the interior architecture of many of the intricate pieces.

Once again geometric jewellery is produced in collaboration with the wonderful Luca Romanyi, seeing laser-cut and etched walnut dominate, with organic paint, eek skin and vegetable-tanned leather providing exciting accents and embellishments. Lifting a key print of this collection from Zanditon’s original artwork, Romanyi has effortlessly translated it to wood, creating an expertly crafted collection of architectural inspired pieces.

LFW Diary AW12: Fannie Schiavoni


Saturday 25 February 2012

Make + Mend: A Guide to Recycling Clothes and Fabrics (written for SIX Magazine)

A brilliant new book released this month by Spring Hill encourages those with thrifty minds and idle hands to rejuvenate old clothes and transform fabric remnants into new and stylish fashion and home-ware pieces. Perfectly timed to appeal to the crafty among us this spring, history tells us that it is now in times of financial hardship that we become thrifty, growing our own fruit and veg and exploring new ways to make items we already have last a little longer.

Written by Rebecca Peacock and Sam Tickner Make + Mend: A Guide to Recycling Clothes and Fabrics is packed to the brim with ideas, handy tips and easy-to-follow patterns perfectly demonstrating how to give old clothes a new lease of life. If you’ve ever wondered how to transform an old, tired coat into a cushion cover, create a tote bag from a ripped dress or a neck-tie from a negligee, this handy ‘make-do and mend’ book will divulge all.

No longer the preserve of an old ladies’ circle, crafts are en vogue again, seeing institutions like the WI welcoming a new generation of women eager to learn the skills no longer taught at home or in school. No matter what your experience to date, Make + Mend breaks down each instruction, enabling those of all sewing and embellishing abilities to learn new skills and ultimately produce something unique.

To read the article in full visit SIX Magazine.

Friday 24 February 2012

LFW Diary AW12: Victim Fashion Street


LFW Diary AW12: Dans La Vie

Similar to last season the Dans La Vie show at Vauxhall Fashion Scout was awash with print, in a variety of golden and summery shades, adding welcome colour to a season that can on occasion have a tendency to be muted.
Inspired by an 'Exciting Encounter' of 1960s Pop Art and the spiritual character of a Japanese high priest, 'Kukai', Rira Sugawara's AW12 offering was mysterious, playful and infectious all in the same instance. I particularly loved the oversized faux-fur collars and statement hoods.
A short and sweet showcase, models didn't hang around, pounding down the catwalk in heels by sustainable and ethical label Finsk. Kooky plastic headpieces by Riitta added a welcome variety of block colour. According to the press release the collection 'suggests a new way of popism'. I'm not sure I entirely understand, but whatever it is, I like it!

LFW Diary AW12: Á la Disposition

With a brand name referring to historical costuming techniques, the AW12 offering from Á la Disposition was distinctly Victorian with top hats and exaggerated tails in a wintry colour palette of greys and blacks, with high tones of powder pink and regal purple.
A playful collection that is beautifully crafted, check patterns dominated along with optical illusion prints, with a luxe sportswear twist.

LFW Diary AW12: Nova Chiu

A designer I first came across at the LCF graduation show last summer, it was great to catch up with Nova Chiu at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout exhibition. Showcased as one of their ‘Ones To Watch’ for AW12 Chiu’s designs are the personification of embellishment.
Taking inspiration from her own graduate offering, ‘Shangri-Ladida’ – which won the coveted LCF ‘collection of the year’ – Chiu fuses the traditional heritage of ethnic tribes from the Shangri-La region of China with New York influences of hip hop street fashion and neon brights courtesy of collaboration partner Jeff Archer.
Using fur and embroidered netting to create structured shapes, pleating and netting plays a pivotal role as does patchwork. A true juxtaposition of East and West, Nova is a very exciting emerging designer indeed.