More pictures soon..
As suggested in my previous catwalk report style posts, i did some work over Fashion week for Access-fashion.com – this entailed me attending a number of shows and events with the editor Sabina Emrit and Caroline Leaper; Below are a few example of the reports that have been published on the website:
1. Craig Lawrence : Ocean Devotion
2. Lako Bukia : In The Midnight Garden
3. Jean Pierre Braganza : Elemental Excellence
4. Christopher Shannon : Club Kaleidoscope
5. Caroline Charles: Belle Du Jour
Sometimes I wonder if I have an illuminated arrow over my head, the kind that is highlighted by neon lightbulbs, if I did mine would say ‘Please, give me any kind of leaflet, free magazine, travel guide or newspaper, because not only do I love carrying a handbag around with me that weighs more than my body weight by the time I get home but i simply can’t say no to the puppy dog eyes of people trying to give me things’. On this occasion, I was exiting through the portculis at Somerset house, absolutely exhausted and desperate for my bed, when a large brute of a woman threw herself in my path ‘FREE MAGAZINE MADAM?’ she bellowed eyeing me up and down; actually what came first before the woman was a rather beefy speckled arm clutching a newspaper appearing out of thin air just as I was about to walk through the doorway, nearly slapping me right in the forehead with said newspaper – a pretty good tactic to have a type of woman who you wouldn’t want to mess with handing out your magazines, people like me take them in fear. Oh here we go, another travel guide on London’s best pigeon spotting locations – perhaps I should start a new venture and do a swapsie style challenge of what free magazines people get given, much like the ‘Pokemon’ craze that swept the nation a few years ago, only this time people would be scrumming over ‘The essential guide the St.James’s Park and Buckingham Palace’. Now I know how the Billy goats gruff felt after that little troll encounter; ‘Um, okay yeah, thankyou’ ‘ ENJOY YOUR REEEEEEEAD’ she squarked as I took the broadsheet sized paper, thinking it would go straight into the first bin that I passed or maybe I’d take it home and leave it lying around for a few days before putting it out with the recycling to feel a little less guilty.
Instead, later that evening on the draining tube journey home from Holburn, I found myself struggling to stay awake – dreading the thought of being one of those poor folk who fall into a deep sleep, soothed by the motion of the carriage, and miss their stop, ending up half way to Walthamstow, I desperately scrambled in my bag to find something to occupy my brain. Popping a chewing gum in my mouth, I pulled the now crumpled, ripped and folded issue from the depths of my tote, hoping that I would find something remotely interesting to take my mind of the fact that it was physical effort to keep my eyes open.
‘Stop magazine – The People Issue’ the cover told me. Sniggering a little at the irony of the name (having literally been stopped in my tracks by its wielder) and silently congratulating its creator, it suddenly dawned on me that this was not the metro-esque publication worthy only of the bin, but instead more of a Wonderland magazine in newspaper format with a real emphasis on fashion and lifestyle – Perhaps a little dim of me, considering said paper was shoved in my face on exiting Somerset house in the throes of fashion week. Thinking about it bit more I began to realize that the distribution method was actually very artful, positioning themselves in prime place for both entry and exit of the main fashion week show space and ensuring that the deliver was a ‘i wont take no for an answer’ kinda lady, they were ensuring that not only the magazine was being seen by all the right people but giving themselves a real fashion orientated presence – first impressions count after all.
While the publication at first glance appears very formal and rigid ( a very faishony vogue-esque cover shot with only the essential information on the cover, designed I suspect to lure in the serious fashionistas) after reading it the best way to describe it is simplistic and individual. Take for example the contributors page:
While it is in no way individual to Pop magazine’s standard, It is elegantly laid out (all symmetrical and monotone), visually pleasing and personal (all the images depict the contributors personality, through a series of kooky poses) – makes for a nice change from the ultra serious miasma that swarms fashion week. Perhaps I could be heckled for making such a sweeping statement, but it seems that this air of ambivalent playfulness was the magazine’s intention all along, in which case they have hit the nail right on the head ; ‘unlike fashion week, we guarantee there’s something for everyone’ insists the editor Angelica – a very bold statement but in no way unreasonable, the choice of topics within the publication range from completely random articles such as where to eat the best cheeses in London, to slightly lurid stories about testicles, there are more on the beat interviews with designers like David Longshaw and even a sympathetic opinion piece on the fashion bloggers (aka the vultures) of fashion week; to say the topics are diverse would be an understatement and that they are interesting is nowhere near fitting ( i must’ve been sat, one corner of each side of the paper in the space of the two people either side of me, my face inches away from the page, gawping at the content completely oblivious to the commuters around me).
There was also a smattering of Urban outtfitter-esque editorials showing some very wearable trends in realistic situations – there was no stately homes or couture gowns, but the composition worked perfectly with the concept and a sharp set of images was achieved :
What i personally love about the magazine/newspaper/what ever it is, is that, as i meantioned before, the content is not predicatble and in some cases quite risque – they tread dangerously the line of lurid and conservative, fully aware of the risk of alienating certain people with sex stories and articles about porn stars, yet they balance it out perfectly with insightful and cultural topics which are likely to bore the people who are busy reading said sex story – confusing to explain, but in theory it is perfectly balanced. In other cases the writers take a whole new spin on topics which have been deemed as a taboo in the industry (or should never be uttered in the same sentence as fashion). For example, this article on woman body builder, Zanetka Malinowska, instead of taking the ‘she’s an oddity’ stance, they suggest that perhaps we should take a leaf out of her book and (while not becoming a female bodybuilder, unless that’s your dream) strive to have a healthy body. Presenting heras immaculately finished and indisputably femme in a series of editorials it not only challenges the ‘butch’ stereotype so closely linked with body building, it is a nice contrast to the constant stream of stories about anorexia and bulmia.
Amid all these incitful and intelligent articles, I could barely disguise my delight when i turned the page to be presented with these gorgeous hounds, for a few minutes i didn’t have to immerse myself in content instead i could just be lost in puggy-oblivion (look at that little bow-tie, he wears it better than any man)- i guess the editor was right when she said that there was something for everyone.
While the reader can’t seem to decide what it is (newspaper or magazine? Vogue or Wonderland?) or who it’s for (voguette or fashion minnow) that is the beauty of Stop, it is versatile and unpredictable, rich in content and even, dare i say mocking of the industry conventions an dstereotypes whilst challenging them (see below for evidence); one thing is for certain it more than fulfills its ‘something for everyone’ promise. Of corse, there is always the question does this alienate people who are die hard fashionistas? who turn their noses up at anything that doesn’t have a glossy cover and wouldn’t be seen dead reading other than how to make their own chain mail vest, or does it in fact become their secret pleasure? Read in a toilet cubicle or on a train back in the real world outside of the fashion week bubble.
As i turned over the final page i was surpised to find a fashion week schedule on the back – it was as if suddenly in one final, helpful flourish, they were remembering forgetful people like me, who, instead of having to scramble round int heir bag, now full of leaflets, pens, freebies and the rest of the kitchen sink, i just had to pull out the large, easy to find magazine and glance on the back to find out and time just how fast i had to run to get t the next show (because i would inevitably be late having been held up by leaflet hander-outfitters) – it would for the day at least, be your faithful companion and personal assistant, only with more knowledge that the British library and very changeable nature.
At the beginning of the magazine/newspaper, the editor says ‘just carry us around, pass us along, crumple us up for use us as a coaster – but at some point take a look inside’ – Pretty good that she had us nailed from the opening, so instead of being screwed up and thrown away, i neatly folded my issue and put it atop of my Vogue and Lula back issues, maybe i will throw it way one day (once I’ve removed the pug page of corse) but until then i will keep it as almost an unknown compliment to the writers; I guess the fact is, even if I wasn’t willing to do as the editor asks, I would still do it, out of fear of magazine Ogre appearing out of my wardrobe and clubbing my over the head with her stash of rolled up issues.
Christopher Shannon is widely acknowledged as a master of sportswear with an unmistakable penchant for bright colours and bold cuts but for S/S 12 Shannon presented a lightweight, quieter collection, offering up a softer side to his normal sporty approach. While all his unconventional signature trademarks – soft pockets and patches, prominent tassels and contrasting colours were still in abundance, he parented a sporty sleek, simple and polished man, creating the perfect alliance between sophistication and great fit.
While he quotes Viviane Sassen, John Stezaker, Paul Graham, Erik Steinbrecher and the Wild Bunch crew as his inspiration, it is questionable as to whether the up-coming Olympics has also influenced his mood; trackies, sneakers and (sweaters in an eccentric mix of colours, patterns and treatments ensured that the collection was far from mundane, while invigorating colour blocking and clean cut cool, slicked back hair emphasized the freshness of the collection. Subtle pops of colour throughout the collection gave it a zingy edge, bright orange bags slung over shoulders broke up the otherwise muted colour palette. Shannon states that he aims to give “something to everyone” and by mixing avant guarde with street smartness he surely achieves this goal.
The 90s, a time of body glitter, carpenter pants and the ‘Rachel’ hair cut, but for the Cassette Playa s/s 12 collection we are transported back to a 90’s that would be more fittingly played out in a dingy underground club. The urban atmosphere gives the collection a grainy and candid feel; from basic button-ups to loud space-themed prints it is overtly nostalgic, offering up a plethora of garments that are stand alone statement pieces. The collection is the perfect ode to the underground 90’s grunge scene; the erratic screen-print graphics on dark denim jackets, neon sweaters and baggy fit trousers.
Carrie ‘Mundane’, head designer, explains: “The collection is all about prints creating two different outcomes from far away and close up”, this sense of distorted perspective and manipulated perception is translated into obtrusive graphic graffiti prints that metamorphose, on closer inspection into something totally abstract; Hawaiian floral prints turn out to be hypnagogic assortments of doughnuts and chairs, a traditionally 90’s stone-look camouflage print that are cleverly reproduced ice-cream images, adorns matching button-downs and micro shorts, whilst green and red floral emblazons loosely-fitting pants.
With the 2012 Olympics drawing ever closer, Astrid Andersen has prepped the 21st century man for the on-coming sporty season. During the presentation models were seen showing off their bulging biceps with an interactive set, complete with weights and dumbbells whilst Anderson successful combines hi-hop street culture and the traditional training garments of any bonified sportsman. Touting a sporty silhouette, with black varsity-style letterman jackets, silk jogging bottoms and tracksuits encompassed, it is luxurious sportswear with a twist.
Offering a completely different look at gender representation, garments are delicately embroidered with salmon pink floral lace, creating sheer horizontal panels across torsos and shorts, revealing the contoured muscles that would otherwise be hidden. The dainty lace, soon become the center point of the collection, acting as sheer over-layers to loose fitting scarlet nylon shorts and baseball caps carefully embroidered on the flat peaks, compressing further the collections juxtaposed values.
Salmon pinks are mixed with intricate gold lace panels, challenging the uber macho aesthetics, and gorilla fur print tracksuits are depicted in a sheer fabric creating an effortlessly glamorous gloss to the urban street culture. The cuts evolve into something more audacious with nylon kimono-style jackets and angularly cut branded grey vest tops, whilst the fabrics stay breathable and true to the original sportswear affect.
While Oliver Spencer’s S/S12 collection was inspired by the French Mods, loyalties quite obviously lay with the design house’s British heritage, with much of the collection having been produced in the UK. Differing from his normally hushed palette of navy and khaki, the garments were awash with primary colours; full-bodied blues, reds and greens, exposed a consideration for impact and not just for the high-quality finish. The fabrics of the garments were chosen for not only their texture, but also their depth, as the collection quickened and the garments were colour blocked accordingly, the textiles appeared to have a rougher, and in some cases less constructed finish, in order to add depth to the garments and offer variation for the wearer.
While the palette was unrestrained with colour and packed with attitude, the collection was simple, consisting mostly of sharply tailored chinos, featherweight knits and short sleeved shirts in various prints. To match his versatile collection, Oliver Spencer sent an eclectic mix of models and personalities down the catwalk, ranging widely in age, ethnicity and build; Spencer presented the ideal that this collection has been created for the man in all his variations. The rainbow spectrum of tailored trousers were cuffed or cropped at the leg for a liberated and an incandescent feel; the perfect accompaniment to the clean lines and fluid cuts that gave each garment a artlessness serenity. Polished footwear was the final flourish to the collection, offering unrivaled masculine classics such as oxford brogues and penny loafers as well as the less conventional desert boots and espadrilles, glossing the collection perfectly; this is the modern man in all his virile glory.
There is only one way to describe the KTZ catwak show and that is bonkers . Think punk meets Massai warrior, think S&M harnesses meets tribal jewellery; there were no summery suits just lots and lots of leather, with a small smattering of womenswear (all big satin bows and, surprise surprise, yet more leather). Biker jackets transformed into new variations with oversized collars and no sleeves, humours jackets advertising escourt services and bondage shorts. The final flourishes were the footwear, gladiator sandals meets brothel creepers, all black leather and big buckles, and the slightly scary S&M bag.
The front row said it all – Mr and Mrs kate moss, Jaime winstone and Labrinth (the rapper); Mr Small is most definitely someone to watch. Print was the staple that held the collection together – starting as a reproduction of William Morris style florals in a plethora of colours and graduating towards a camouflage design. The collection comprised of sleek fitted tailoring, gentlemanly shirts and very small micro shorts although the sense of pairing was also prominent; Shirts and shorts were print blocked so to appear as if it was a ‘onesie’. The abundance of sheer fabrics (primarily on shirts) made for eye-popping pieces, and perfectly summarized to the tone of the collection – a man who is completely comfortable in his own skin.
Daks – BFC showspace – 9:00 am
An ode to the Fifties with a nautical theme, Daks drew an impressive crowd considering it’s 9:00 am start time. Opening the show with a delightfully crafted fashion film/animation depicting coastal resorts and long summer holidays, the tone was set.Rope print, retro halter neck dresses and Terrycloth playsuits in Dak’s house check summarized the glamour of far away shores while glamorous navy jumpsuits and luxurious onesies predicted balmy summer nights. Paying heed to the inevitably downcast British summer, raincoats of clear material were paired with micro-shorts, while thin slouchy tops were worn over calf high skirts ready to be whipped off at the first glimpse of sunshine.
Masha Ma – Vauxhall Fashion Scout- Freemason’s Hall
Subtle shades of white and grey, with the occasional burst of navy, divert attention towards the intricate detailing of the garments – gentle ruffles, precise knife pleats or subtle fringing. The use of extensive drapery highlights the pure sophistication and femininity of the collection as well as drawing attention to the unrivaled curves of the female form, (layers) of georgette satin and silk crepe are over lapped and bonded for a luxurious finish with real depth – you need to look beyond the surface to appreciate it fully.
Jasper Conran – BFC showspace –
Described as a ‘Palette cleanser’ the fresh white cottons and pale grey wool dresses acted as a diversion from the constant stream of candy-shop colours in other shows; with full or knee length hemlines and minimal fuss fastenings (be they wraps, ties or straps) the Conran woman was stylish but active. The best way to describe the collection is simple yet chic, refined yet individual and dare I say classical (it was in no way avant guarde, it was very wearable) baring of corse the clear and coloured perspex bags which made for a quirky touch. With the collection emitting a sports luxe feel (the toweling head-bands are the perfect give away), Conran gave the garments a sexy-twist with backless dresses and suggestive split in full length dresses.
Craig Lawrence, salon show – The Portico rooms – 15:15 pm
Taking inspiration from childhood ventures to the coastal town of Felixstowe, Craig Lawrence’s s/s 12 collection heralds, by his own admission, an era of ‘renewed luxuriance for London’s knitwear’.Stating the photographer Martin Parr and the British seaside as his muses, his collection is ‘rich in nostalgia and charm’
Choosing metallic rose gold yarn and cream shreds of material that he regularly knits with, Lawrence creates a luxe grunge look for spring/summer; Ivory ladder stitched body con dresses were spun from the sustainable stripped alcantara to floor skimming lengths while cocktail dresses with elegant fish tail features were finished with box pleats. Showcasing the collaboration with the leg-wear and tights expert Patternity, Ivory leggings with spike detailing took pride of place under a dusty mint green ribbed miniskirt, worn as the perfect partner to a barbed headdress. While the garments were finished with a loose-knit effect, very similar to crochet, twisted- wrap sweetie tops in varying degrees of sheerness added a sporty edge to the collection, as did the rose gold metallic off-the shoulder sweaters over knitted racer back vests.
Lako Bukia – Vauxhall fashion scout – Freemasons hall – 3:45
Pondering upon the concepts of femininity, asian flora and innovation Lako Bukia revealed a collection worthy of any Japanese court – Luxury fabrics, complicated cuts and enchanting floral prints. Combining a selection of complicated construction techniques in order to make the pieces extravagant and new and a palette of mauve, red and white vertical stripes and Japanese floral prints she strives to show off the shape of any woman in the best way.
Pleated skirts of crimson and white, with each pleat an opposing colour, fell just above the knee whilst feather-light chiffon handkerchief skirts, emblazoned with the signature floral print skimmed the floor at the model’s feet. Sheer tuxedo style shirts were worn with slick silk shorts or wide-legged trousers cut from black and white vertical striped material and kimono style dresses cut from slate grey silk rippled seductively with each stride leaving the reveling fashion folk in awe.
Over this recent fashion week (16th to 21st September 2011) I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take up a free lance position as assistant to the editor at access-fashion.com. The role meant that I had to go to a number of shows and events in order to write reports to be published on website a few weeks prior to LFW. Although i have been commissioned to write a number of articles for the publication, i have not been asked to write about every show i went to so i will take the chance to do so here, as some of them were truly spectacular, the ones that i have been asked to write about have been abridged – i will post the finished product on here once they have been published. Although I only attended three days of Fashion week (Friday, Saturday and Wednesday), this suited me perfectly as i was originally only interested in Menswear day (Wednesday) as this is the area that i hope to build a career in – The editor took this into account and ensured that my schedule was packed for this day.
Corrie Nielson – 10:00 am – The Old Sorting Office
A graduate at the school of Galliano and winner of Fashion Fringe, Nielson is slowly becoming a name talked about in all the right circles. A boyish waif of a woman, the garments that she masterfully conjures are far from ordinary – a plethora of luxury fabrics, flattering cuts and understated detailing, a hint of a Japanese and victorian references and draping in all the right places. Emphasis on female masculine dressing, embracing the 19th century men’s dress – ultra tailored dandy-esque jackets with shirts spilling through in the place of ascot scarves. Front row seats provided the perfect observation point – seeing in detail the structured peplums, textured bandeau dresses and artfully crafted satin tailored trousers, along with smatterings of chartreuse and other sumptuous fabrics- the finished collection was both individual and elegant.
Caroline Charles – 11:00 am – BFC Showspace
Caroline Charles’s apparent ease and talent at highlighting all the subtleties of the female body was shown repeatedly in the artfully mastered dropped waist cuts and flattering necklines. Two piece, tailored skirt and trouser suits were colour blocked in hues of mint green, sahara orange and midnight blue. Great Gatsby–esque straw boaters trimmed with grosgrain ribbons were the perfect accompaniment to these structured suits; the collection also included over-sized sun hats secured around the neck and finished with subtle yet intricate floral embroidery detail and wide-brimmed panamas in pale shades.
Despite waists being tailored and cinched in by skinny belts and sashes, dresses were still fluid, polished with capped sleeves and subtle pleats upon hemlines that fell on or over the knee. Simple black ankle length turn ups were accompanied by cotton blouses, nipped in at the wrists and trimmed with crisp lace, while gingham two piece suits, again defined by ankle-length turn ups and boxy structured jackets, were paired in contrasting colours of navy and red. During the transition from day to evening wear, barefooted models floated down the catwalk in sheer, graphic print dresses with bell sleeves and loosely fitting wide-leg pant suits. Eveningwear boasted an air of decadence and predicted a balmy ‘Indian summer’ – the obvious eastern influence was prominent in the abundance of extravagant jeweled chokers and the liberally scattered diamante beads adorning shirts and dresses, clustering at the necklines and cuffs.
Jean Pierre Braganza – 3:00 pm – BFC Showspace
‘It started with a trip to Cornwall. All blue sharp sky with rushing fluffy clouds. Smashing waves and bracing rock” JPB set’s a crisp background on which the crashing waves are depicted in clean but refracted prints upon garments with fluid lines, the jutting cliffs become angular cut-out tailoring and the bracing rocks become the strong shoulders and sharp tailoring.While JPB’s collection definitely draws on Art Deco for inspiration, it is translated in an austere tone; angular dropped waist dresses in monochrome, grey muted graphics adorn blouses and a marl boiler suit create an urban edge. Long- line suit jackets and structured Tuxedo dresses are in a (Palette – Black white grey and beige and pops of red and burnt orange), while Wrap dresses showcase elegant draping, designed to liberate the female form.
The JPB signature Harem pants are paired with striking graphic print blousons in a welcome pop of vibrant red and burnt orange, alongside Glittering dark jewels around jutting necks and embellished sheer panels on severe body-con dresses, create a sense of subtle yet tough decadence.
Regenerate Japan – 7:00 pm – The Reading Rooms, Soho
My first fashion week event was a pop-up shop fundraising for the red-cross Japan called ‘Regenerate Japan’, – this event was far closer to my heart than most as my best friend, Daniel Stewart, was the event co-ordinator. As i live with Daniel i knew all the ins and outs, ups and downs of the project (from the time that we were going to have a designer sleeping on our sofa to having arguments with Fed-Ex delivery men over the multiple boxes of couture dresses they had to deliver – we live on the eighth floor and there is no lift), so knowing the nature of his boss (unprofessional, devious and extremely manipulative) and knowing all the stress and rubbish that he had put up, it was always my intention to attend the event, just to congratulate and surport him, as from where i was standing (and the designers, other people involved within the event and interns) Daniel basically organised the whole event, so when Access-Fashion asked me to cover the event at the same time i was extremely pleased.
Held in the Reading rooms in Soho (quite a small venue), the first thing that hits you is how elegantly and tastefully the layout had been designed – with over 20 designers including Eley Kishimoto, Cabinet by Tomoko Yamanaka, Misa Harada, Sae Miyazaki, C/Bruerberg, Maria Seveyna, Lucchese Boot Co, Eva Evanovich, Alice Palmer and Louise Amstrup, it would’ve been easy for it to look like a jumble sale, however it looked more like an up-market boutique. ‘The abundance of cherry trees, sushi and cherry liquor made for a nice touch – the staff/interns were amazing and very hospitable, met on arrival (when you could beat your way in throug the door) by two ladies wearing intricately designed kimonos you were immediatlly offered drinks, designers lurked around their collections protectively but were happy to answer any questions, Nadia Minkoff and the ladies from Lucchese were particularly lovely- the atmosphere was very upbeat.
Through a small doorway was the Japanese midnight garden was a tea ceremony held by Jing tea ( they also provided fabulous goodie bags full of rare teas, including one that opens into a flower when hot water is added). Nat Weller and Finlay Kemp turned up for a hour long d.j set but by that time the brunt of the guests had left which was a shame as they did play some good classics. There was also a lovely but slightly pointless walk through of models in the kimonos which lasted about 15 minutes to the 2 hours that they had spent getting ready – however people seemed to enjoy this as cameras were a clicking furiously. I was told that the event organizers were Ben Charles Edwards and Freya Olsen – while Ben Charles Edwards was a constant and welcoming presence, Ms Olsen was no where to be seen all night, surely a good host ensures that their guests know exactly who they are? Funnily enough i did find out who she was later when she appeared in a lift rather drunk and struggling to walk straight, on approach she then asked Daniel to make her another cocktail and retreat to the outside steps to join Nat Weller for a cigarette. I look forward to hearing how much the event raised for the tsunami appeal.
All Images- Source: http://www.vogue.co.uk