Amelia’s Magazine | The 3rd Annual Fashioning the Future Awards


Caryn Franklin hosting the ceremony, by Antonia Parker

The third annual Fashioning the Future Awards took place last Thursday, where guests from the world of fashion, business and sustainable living came together to celebrate international sustainable fashion talent. Supported by the United Nations, the awards promote students who produce fashion with conscience.

The setting for this glamorous occasion – the East Wintergarden, part of the Canary Wharf complex – seemed a little unusual in the wake of the current financial crisis, and it’s not the first destination I’d think of if I wanted to host a conscious do. But, I was to learn, that Canary Wharf are committed to environmental issues. The Canary Wharf Group is, in fact, one of the country’s top ‘green’ companies.


Two of the finalists’ work by Joana Faria

Inside the venue, a load of wooden cogs had been dotted around the room, on which frozen models posed for the duration of the evening. Large zoetropes descended from the ceiling, requiring manmade kinetic power to operate that involved guests turning winches in order for them to animate. Drinks flowed and there was no obvious stage or focal point, creating a strange but enjoyable atmosphere that allowed guests to freely mingle amongst the spools and lights.


All photography by Matt Bramford

Circular tubes also hung from the celing, a little lower than average height, in which guests could stand, head fully immersed inside, and listen to interviews with the shortlisted nominees while looking a little silly. It all made for good fun and took the sometimes stifling atmosphere of these kind of events quickly away.

The ceremony itself was delayed in the hope that the members of the celebrity judging panel who could make it (Erin O’Connor and Lucy Siegle had already pulled out for unspecified reasons) would eventually show up. It was repeatedly announced that Jo Wood and BFC chairman Harold Tillman were, together, stuck in traffic. Eventually the producers of the awards gave up and the show commenced, glamourously hosted by fashion protagonist Caryn Franklin. The lights dimmed and Caryn took her place in the centre of the room under one of the zoetropes. Guests were invited to sit, anywhere, or stand to view the ceremony.


Jo Wood and Harold Tillman stuck in traffic by Gareth A Hopkins

Five awards were presented across a diverse range of subjects, including design and innovation, under this year’s theme: Biodiversity.


One of the finalists’ work by Jaymie O Callaghan

Unique Balance
Sara Emilie Terp Hansen scooped the coveted prize for Unique Balance with her intriguing and aesthetically brilliant collection made from cork. The judges said Sara Emilie had ‘found an opportunity to utilise an unexpected material in a fashion context, allowing nature to dictate design.’ It was quite the striking collection and Sara, one of the only recipients to collect her award in person, looked heartwarmingly shocked to receive the award.


One of the finalists’ work by Justyna Sowa

Unique Materials and Processes
The second award, for Unique Materials and Processes, was due to be presented by the aforementioned Jo Wood. Guests still hoped she would leg it in last minute and snatch the mic, but still no joy. Massive props must go to Alex McIntosh from the Centre for Sustainable Fashion who took to the stage (metaphorically speaking as there wasn’t one, of course) and presented also absent Evelyn Lebis‘ wearable light collection with the award.


One of the finalists’ work by Katrina Conquista

Unique Enterprise
Australian Alice Payne scooped the Enterprise award for her conceptual approach to business. ‘Think Lifecycle’ is a sort of social media platform for big companies, allowing them to harness environmental sustainability across the entire business. No, I didn’t completely understand it either, but I did like her spider diagrams.

Unique Design
LCF graduate Lara Torres picked up the award for Unique Design. Professor Frances Corner OBE, head of the LCF, said ‘ironically the design category was the hardest to judge; it’s very hard not to fixate on the idea that the winning entry has to be a perfectly realised garment’. In fact, it wasn’t – Lara’s entry examined the role of the fashion designer in modern society and the relationship we have with the clothing we wear.

The Body Shop One to Watch Award
The final award, presented by Ann Massal, International Brand Director of The Body Shop, went to Ashley Brock, who had flown all the way from the USA for the occasion. Eek. It was a sort of all-encompassing award for the prize student who hadn’t been acknowledged in the other categories. Ashley’s collection showed how ‘seemingly obsolete garments can be re-purposed’.


Erin O’ Connor realxing in the shower and Jo Wood stuck in traffic by Antonia Parker

And so the awards were wrapped up with a brief catwalk show where models stood up from their spools, sashayed around the room and then formed an imposing group under the centre spotlight. Still no sign of Jo Wood or Harold Tillman. It was a marvellous ceremony – genuinely unique – and a celebration of wearable sustainable fashion. I did wonder if it was entirely appropriate that these two were sitting in a car somewhere when they were supposed to be part of an environmentally-aware event (why they didn’t just get out of their bloody cars and get on the bloody tube is beyond me) but infact it didn’t matter; it made the evening entirely about the fashion, the winners, and the real message.

Categories ,Alex McIntosh, ,Alice Payne, ,Ann Massal, ,Antonia Parker, ,BFC, ,Biodiversity, ,Canary Wharf, ,Caryn Franklin, ,Centre for Sustainable Fashion, ,Ceremony, ,East Wintergarden, ,Enterprise, ,environmental, ,Erin O’ Connor, ,ethical, ,Evelyn Lebis, ,fashion, ,Fashion the Future Awards, ,Frances Corner OBE, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,green, ,Harold Tillman, ,Jaymie O’Callaghan, ,Jo Wood, ,Joana Faria, ,Justyna Sowa, ,Katrina Conquista, ,Lara Torres, ,LCF, ,London College of Fashion, ,Lucy Siegle, ,Matt Bramford, ,Sara Emilie Terp Hansen, ,The Body Shop, ,unique, ,united nations, ,Womenswear, ,Zoetropes

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Amelia’s Magazine | Gyunel: London Fashion Week A/W 2013 Catwalk Review

Gyunel AW 2013 by May van Millingen
Gyunel LFW A/W 2013 by May van Millingen

I am distracted by a wedding dress photoshoot on my way to Gyunel‘s show at The Savoy and veer in via the wrong entrance, barely making it in time for the show. When I do finally enter, out of breath, it’s to the sound of crackling flames. The Savoy is a fancy venue with a fresco feel (Sistine Chapel as opposed to al) and Gyunel‘s Demi-Couture show is at home in this opulent location, where the clothes are complimented by chandeliers and a luxurious egg-shell blue decor. Supermodel Jodie Kidd is one of the well-known faces in the front row and the circular catwalk makes for a refreshing change to the usual straight up, straight down.

Gyunel AW 2013 by May van Millingen
Gyunel LFW A/W 2013 by May van Millingen

The collection is kicked off with a feather-covered gown in dark blue modeled by Erin O’ Connor. There are some futuristic haircuts and revealing leather, which feel a little Fifth Element, although none of the models sport the giveaway tangerine mop. A Pantone style selection of blues, a dash of white, a dab of purple and some striking cream hoods make up some of the glorious colours in this show. I can’t help but think the dresses have the feel of another era, and the leather-bound models with their billowing train dresses gives me an aftertaste of steam-punk.

Gyunel AW 2013 by Hannah Smith
Gyunel A/W 2013 by Hannah Smith

My street-side wedding-dress encounter must have been an omen as there’s a traditional, white, flowing matrimony dress in the collection too. This virginal piece is a strong contrast to the sexuality exuded by some of the other frocks, and some of the models are, what my boyfriend would (with a mischievous grin) call, ‘smuggling peanuts’.

Gyunel LFW AW 2013
Gyunel LFW AW 2013

The series of white hoods are unexpected and add an aura of mystique to the show. The make-up, provided by AOFM graduates gives the models dramatic, white, metallic eyes; right up to the brow, making them seem simultaneously as though they could be from Narnia and outer space.

Gyunel‘s collection is a well-used deployment of contrasts; leather mixed with chiffon makes for an interesting look, as does the presence of ready-to-wear garments alongside couture. With the strong underlying blue tones and a generous show of skin, the models remind me of Jason’s sirens effortlessly luring men to sea. Perhaps this influence is something I’ve imagined though, as sea salt hairspray is one of the goodie-bag freebies I managed to nab from an earlier show.

Gyunel LFW AW 2013

Gyunel LFW AW 2013

Gyunel LFW AW 2013

You can tell almost everything you need to know about someone from their walk. There is a world of difference between a prance and a skip, a mooch and a stride. I prefer those who amble, and I do a good mosey myself. Models tend to strut, but these catwalk beauties have a stride of their own; they glide. Combined with the make-up and the clothes, the effect is otherworldly. The braids that hold the hair back from their faces adds to the effect and has a trace of Princess Leia making the whole effect, not just of the clothes, but of the entire experience, pretty impressive. Whether it’s the surroundings or the dresses, I feel like I’m in a different universe for the duration of Gyunel’s fresh, varied and fantabulous show at The Savoy.

Gyunel A/W LFW 2013 By Maya Beus
Gyunel A/W 2013 by Maya Beus

Categories ,A/W 2013, ,AOFM, ,chandeliers, ,couture, ,Demi-Couture, ,Dress, ,Erin O’ Connor, ,Feathers, ,Futuristic, ,Gyunel, ,Hannah Smith, ,Jessica Cook, ,Jodie Kidd, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Luxury, ,May van Millingen, ,Maya Beus, ,The Savoy, ,Wedding

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Amelia’s Magazine | Graduate Fashion Week 2010: The Gala Show Finale!


Shinsuke Mitsuoka

The world of fashion is notoriously fickle and grabbing the attentions of a fashion crowd for any extended period of time seems tricky. Catwalk shows do their best with an array of light shows and thumping soundtracks which could sometimes do with a warning.

Nottingham Trent have prepared it all for their outing at Graduate Fashion Week with glossy door staff, medications designer goody bags and even a rather trendy loitering DJ (wearing a somewhat dubious puffa jacket). They’re raring to go, remedy but there’s just one cog in the works; a serious lack of bums on seats. Well, there is of course the age old excuse of being fashionably late, but even the pinched smiles of women ferrying around have started to crumble.

All becomes clear as a dull thudding bass infiltrates the theatre and the sound barrier takes a bashing as the trill of hundreds of screaming girls hit the roof. Apparently Tinie Tempah is a big deal (and from the glimpse I got, genuinely teeny Tinie). He’s had all of one song, which luckily for Nottingham Trent, he dispatches quickly, and soon a bustle of activity swells at the theatre doors. If Tinie didn’t make them ‘Pass Out’ (see what I did there? Here all week folks…) then the efforts of Nottingham Trent’s 2010 graduates will surely do their best to stun the senses. 

Nottingham Trent has a clear passion for encouraging students to experiment with unique techniques and textures in knitwear, producing a modern and varied aesthetic across the course. Their catwalk show oscillates between detailed, intricate knitwear and sleek takes on womenswear with bursts of energy injected at intervals by the likes of Emma Dick, showcasing sharp, graphic prints of televisions and arrows just at home in a museum of Pop Art as the runway. Integrated hoods give the look a futuristic feel but there’s a touch of the retro about her two-tone body con jumpsuit with a classic 1960s palette contrast between red and black.

Nottingham Trent keeps the volume turned up with Claire Hartley’s cutaway knitted one pieces, exposing flashes of green, yellow and red for a futuristic sci-fi look. Hartley’s dedication to forward thinking stretches beyond the aesthetics as she hopes to generate a new innovative, zero waste policy in manufacturing to ensure the sustainability and evolution of the clothes. 

By now Tinie’s long forgotten as each model stalks down the catwalk to puffa DJ’s painfully hip soundtrack. Nikki Lowe dazzles with gold lamé suits complete with built-in gloves worthy of an evil Jackie Collins penned character, but flashlight necklaces add a distinctive disco feel caught somewhere between the 1970s and the 1990s.

Miranda Boucher’s collection is a dark and luxurious celebration of femininity with plush midnight blue coats and velveteen details just obscuring the model’s modesty.  

Emma Philpot’s knitwear seems to grow from the models bodies, twisting and turning upon itself and forming knots and twists likes a chunky chainmail, while Tiffany Williams continues the fairytale edge with her menswear collection in dark, brooding colours and heavy volume that weigh on the shoulders as a hulking, masculine presence. Backs reveal shimmers of gold thread intertwined, adding a lighter side to the depth of her work. 
Jenna Harvey’s dresses change at every turn as each layer of tiny fabric is double printed and loosely set so as it moves a new picture is revealed. At times it feels like 3D glasses are needed just to keep up with the transformation before your eyes.

Meanwhile, Phoebe Thirlwall’s beautiful knitwear dresses, inspired by the intricacies of the skin, show a level of workmanship that is breathtaking under the lights of the catwalk. Each ribbed layer clings to the models with hundreds of different levels working together. Her hard work has clearly not gone unnoticed as her work was also photographed by renowned artist Rankin, a stunning portrait duly displayed in grand terms at Earl’s Court.


 
Izabela Targosz’s equestrian turn on tailoring injects some more colour into Nottingham Trent’s show, with jackets made with horsehair pockets and backs adding a silky but quirky feel. Riding hats are the natural yet perfect accessory to a collection that shows an equal strength in its attention to detail for an upheaval of the British tailored look. 

Shinsuke Matsuoka’s work is saved for the final spot and with the breathtaking effect of the garments, it’s easy to see why. Bondage style zips snake across panels of black hi-shine material; the sound of the clothes are a foreboding presence in themselves, but as six outfits stand together the models are transformed into an unnervingly attractive chain gang from the future. I’m not sure if it was this effect or not, but my camera also spluttered its final breaths at this point, perhaps overwhelmed by the power of Matsuoka’s collection.

In any case, it proved a spectacular way to end things and is not something I can imagine being trumped by Tinie any day soon.

Images courtesy of catwalking.com


Nicola Roberts, cheapest illustrated by Jenny Robins

So it was time to wrap up what was a pretty crazy week in the form of the Graduate Fashion Week Gala Show. After making arrangements for a ticket a while ago, I was bemused to find that at the door there was no sign of said tickets.

Perhaps it had been taken by another contributor? Unlikely. ‘Are you sure you’re supposed to be at this (star-studded) show?’ ‘Yes’ I said, ‘that’s why I’m wearing a bow tie’.

After a few quick radio calls, I was allowed in. Into Earl’s Court, that is – not into the champagne drinks reception. ‘Sponsors only’ was the reply when I asked if I could have a quick drinkie. ‘Sponsors only my eye’ I thought, as I recognised half the people in the fashionably-roped off bar area.

So I waited patiently at the entrance to the theatre. And waited.

And waited.

‘We’ll get you in,’ I was told. ‘Before it actually starts?’ I thought to myself.

As I waited I was entertained by a lovely student called April who could see my blood boiling – stood a little distance away to avoid the steam coming out of my ears. ‘After all I’ve bloody done this week,’ I thought to myself, and then said aloud to April, who quickly excused herself.

Finally I was allowed inside and ushered into a press seat, and, true to form at these events, there were three seats either side of me that remained empty. ‘Typical!’ I thought to myself, and then thought I really should stop thinking to myself so much.

With a few whoops and a whizz, the Gala Show kicked off in fabulous fashion, with Britain’s Got Talent champions Diversity. Fun. Next, Caryn Franklin, resplendent as ever, arrived on stage. It was a whistle-stop tour through the non-catwalk-based awards, including those for fashion marketing and promotion. I was pleased to see Northumbria added a few more to their metaphorical mantelpiece.

A host of celebs had turned up, and from my seat I could spot front-row regular Erin O’Connor (who later presented an award), Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud fame (who has quickly swapped pop for paps, Fashion Week regular that she is). I even brushed past her on my way to the loo, and she is genuinely gorgeous in real life.


Another Nicola Roberts, illustrated by Antonia Parker

It’s always great to see the wonderful Hilary Alexander (who I had the pleasure of sitting next to at the Northumbria Show) who presented mature student Ellen Devall with the ‘First Word’ Journalism Award, because it left her ‘wanting to know more.’


Hilary Alexander, illustrated by Amy Martino

Another of my favourite spots was Barbara Hulanicki, who was here to present the Textile Award to Natalie Murray from Northumbria University. She’s utterly bonkers but gosh what a woman.


Barbara Hulanicki, illustrated by Abi Daker

Onto the main event – the Gala Show(case). I was thrilled to see many of the graduates we’d already talked about on the website appearing in this Best of the Best-style show, including Naomi New from Northumbria (one of my personal favourites from GFW as a whole) and Northbrook’s Rhea Fields.

The staging for this was incredible, and justified the ghastly white sheet that hung in the background for the first part of the show. It burst down to reveal a scaffolding set, where models pouted, lights flashed, and the music roared.

So, the winners then. With the inclusion of the International Show this year, it was great to see them honoured with an award, which must have been a great end to a fantastic week for International Students. The winner, Roya Hesam from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute won over the judges with her minimalist collection.

Pretty soon afterwards, out popped everybody’s favourite glamorous granny, Zandra Rhodes, to present her Textiles Award.


Zandra Rhodes, illustrated by Paul Shinn

The competition was fierce here – all were fantastic – but it was Anna Lee’s literally fierce collection of big cat prints that triumphed.

Dylan Jones, editor of GQ Magazine, presented Thomas Crisp of Ravensbourne with the marvellous Menswear prize, owing to his sleek, sophisticated tailoring.


Dylan Jones, illustrated by June Chanpoomidole

Rhea Fields (yay!) from Northbrook college won the womenswear award for her covetable collection and unique use of materials, presented by Mark Eley of Eley Kishimoto.


Mark Eley, illustrated by Lisa Billvik

So, the moment we’d all waited for (and in my case queued, sweated and been reduced to tears for) was the River Island Gold Award. God knows how the likes of River Island design director Naomi Dominique, Lorraine Candy of Elle and Kim Jones chose the winner, but it was down to fellow judge Alberta Ferretti to present the award.


Alberta Ferretti, illustrated by Paolo Caravello

And the winner was…

…Rebecca Thompson from Manchester Met! Thoroughly deserved for her inspirational collection. Alberta Ferretti proclaimed that Rebecca had triumphed because of her ‘unusual and interesting combination of fabrics and for the contemporary feeling of her collection’.

As the ticker tape covered Rebecca and her models, I thought to myself,’What a freakin’ fabulous week.’

Categories ,Alberta Ferretti, ,Amsterdam Fashion Institute, ,Anna Lee, ,Awards, ,Big cats, ,Britain’s Got Talent, ,Caryn Franklin, ,Diversity, ,Dylan Jones, ,Earls Court, ,Elle Magazine, ,Erin O’ Connor, ,Fashion Week, ,Gala Show, ,GFW, ,girls aloud, ,Gold Award, ,Graduate Fashion Week 2010, ,International Show, ,Kim Jones, ,london, ,Lorraine Candy, ,Manchester Metropolitan University, ,menswear, ,models, ,Naomi Dominique, ,Naomi New, ,Nicola Roberts, ,Northbrook College, ,Northumbria, ,Rebecca Thompson, ,Rhea Fields, ,River Island, ,Roya Hesam, ,Textiles Award, ,Ticker Tape, ,Womenswear, ,Zandra Rhodes

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Amelia’s Magazine | Graduate Fashion Week 2010: The Gala Show Finale!


Shinsuke Mitsuoka

The world of fashion is notoriously fickle and grabbing the attentions of a fashion crowd for any extended period of time seems tricky. Catwalk shows do their best with an array of light shows and thumping soundtracks which could sometimes do with a warning.

Nottingham Trent have prepared it all for their outing at Graduate Fashion Week with glossy door staff, medications designer goody bags and even a rather trendy loitering DJ (wearing a somewhat dubious puffa jacket). They’re raring to go, remedy but there’s just one cog in the works; a serious lack of bums on seats. Well, there is of course the age old excuse of being fashionably late, but even the pinched smiles of women ferrying around have started to crumble.

All becomes clear as a dull thudding bass infiltrates the theatre and the sound barrier takes a bashing as the trill of hundreds of screaming girls hit the roof. Apparently Tinie Tempah is a big deal (and from the glimpse I got, genuinely teeny Tinie). He’s had all of one song, which luckily for Nottingham Trent, he dispatches quickly, and soon a bustle of activity swells at the theatre doors. If Tinie didn’t make them ‘Pass Out’ (see what I did there? Here all week folks…) then the efforts of Nottingham Trent’s 2010 graduates will surely do their best to stun the senses. 

Nottingham Trent has a clear passion for encouraging students to experiment with unique techniques and textures in knitwear, producing a modern and varied aesthetic across the course. Their catwalk show oscillates between detailed, intricate knitwear and sleek takes on womenswear with bursts of energy injected at intervals by the likes of Emma Dick, showcasing sharp, graphic prints of televisions and arrows just at home in a museum of Pop Art as the runway. Integrated hoods give the look a futuristic feel but there’s a touch of the retro about her two-tone body con jumpsuit with a classic 1960s palette contrast between red and black.

Nottingham Trent keeps the volume turned up with Claire Hartley’s cutaway knitted one pieces, exposing flashes of green, yellow and red for a futuristic sci-fi look. Hartley’s dedication to forward thinking stretches beyond the aesthetics as she hopes to generate a new innovative, zero waste policy in manufacturing to ensure the sustainability and evolution of the clothes. 

By now Tinie’s long forgotten as each model stalks down the catwalk to puffa DJ’s painfully hip soundtrack. Nikki Lowe dazzles with gold lamé suits complete with built-in gloves worthy of an evil Jackie Collins penned character, but flashlight necklaces add a distinctive disco feel caught somewhere between the 1970s and the 1990s.

Miranda Boucher’s collection is a dark and luxurious celebration of femininity with plush midnight blue coats and velveteen details just obscuring the model’s modesty.  

Emma Philpot’s knitwear seems to grow from the models bodies, twisting and turning upon itself and forming knots and twists likes a chunky chainmail, while Tiffany Williams continues the fairytale edge with her menswear collection in dark, brooding colours and heavy volume that weigh on the shoulders as a hulking, masculine presence. Backs reveal shimmers of gold thread intertwined, adding a lighter side to the depth of her work. 
Jenna Harvey’s dresses change at every turn as each layer of tiny fabric is double printed and loosely set so as it moves a new picture is revealed. At times it feels like 3D glasses are needed just to keep up with the transformation before your eyes.

Meanwhile, Phoebe Thirlwall’s beautiful knitwear dresses, inspired by the intricacies of the skin, show a level of workmanship that is breathtaking under the lights of the catwalk. Each ribbed layer clings to the models with hundreds of different levels working together. Her hard work has clearly not gone unnoticed as her work was also photographed by renowned artist Rankin, a stunning portrait duly displayed in grand terms at Earl’s Court.


 
Izabela Targosz’s equestrian turn on tailoring injects some more colour into Nottingham Trent’s show, with jackets made with horsehair pockets and backs adding a silky but quirky feel. Riding hats are the natural yet perfect accessory to a collection that shows an equal strength in its attention to detail for an upheaval of the British tailored look. 

Shinsuke Matsuoka’s work is saved for the final spot and with the breathtaking effect of the garments, it’s easy to see why. Bondage style zips snake across panels of black hi-shine material; the sound of the clothes are a foreboding presence in themselves, but as six outfits stand together the models are transformed into an unnervingly attractive chain gang from the future. I’m not sure if it was this effect or not, but my camera also spluttered its final breaths at this point, perhaps overwhelmed by the power of Matsuoka’s collection.

In any case, it proved a spectacular way to end things and is not something I can imagine being trumped by Tinie any day soon.

Images courtesy of catwalking.com


Nicola Roberts, cheapest illustrated by Jenny Robins

So it was time to wrap up what was a pretty crazy week in the form of the Graduate Fashion Week Gala Show. After making arrangements for a ticket a while ago, I was bemused to find that at the door there was no sign of said tickets.

Perhaps it had been taken by another contributor? Unlikely. ‘Are you sure you’re supposed to be at this (star-studded) show?’ ‘Yes’ I said, ‘that’s why I’m wearing a bow tie’.

After a few quick radio calls, I was allowed in. Into Earl’s Court, that is – not into the champagne drinks reception. ‘Sponsors only’ was the reply when I asked if I could have a quick drinkie. ‘Sponsors only my eye’ I thought, as I recognised half the people in the fashionably-roped off bar area.

So I waited patiently at the entrance to the theatre. And waited.

And waited.

‘We’ll get you in,’ I was told. ‘Before it actually starts?’ I thought to myself.

As I waited I was entertained by a lovely student called April who could see my blood boiling – stood a little distance away to avoid the steam coming out of my ears. ‘After all I’ve bloody done this week,’ I thought to myself, and then said aloud to April, who quickly excused herself.

Finally I was allowed inside and ushered into a press seat, and, true to form at these events, there were three seats either side of me that remained empty. ‘Typical!’ I thought to myself, and then thought I really should stop thinking to myself so much.

With a few whoops and a whizz, the Gala Show kicked off in fabulous fashion, with Britain’s Got Talent champions Diversity. Fun. Next, Caryn Franklin, resplendent as ever, arrived on stage. It was a whistle-stop tour through the non-catwalk-based awards, including those for fashion marketing and promotion. I was pleased to see Northumbria added a few more to their metaphorical mantelpiece.

A host of celebs had turned up, and from my seat I could spot front-row regular Erin O’Connor (who later presented an award), Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud fame (who has quickly swapped pop for paps, Fashion Week regular that she is). I even brushed past her on my way to the loo, and she is genuinely gorgeous in real life.


Another Nicola Roberts, illustrated by Antonia Parker

It’s always great to see the wonderful Hilary Alexander (who I had the pleasure of sitting next to at the Northumbria Show) who presented mature student Ellen Devall with the ‘First Word’ Journalism Award, because it left her ‘wanting to know more.’


Hilary Alexander, illustrated by Amy Martino

Another of my favourite spots was Barbara Hulanicki, who was here to present the Textile Award to Natalie Murray from Northumbria University. She’s utterly bonkers but gosh what a woman.


Barbara Hulanicki, illustrated by Abi Daker

Onto the main event – the Gala Show(case). I was thrilled to see many of the graduates we’d already talked about on the website appearing in this Best of the Best-style show, including Naomi New from Northumbria (one of my personal favourites from GFW as a whole) and Northbrook’s Rhea Fields.

The staging for this was incredible, and justified the ghastly white sheet that hung in the background for the first part of the show. It burst down to reveal a scaffolding set, where models pouted, lights flashed, and the music roared.

So, the winners then. With the inclusion of the International Show this year, it was great to see them honoured with an award, which must have been a great end to a fantastic week for International Students. The winner, Roya Hesam from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute won over the judges with her minimalist collection.

Pretty soon afterwards, out popped everybody’s favourite glamorous granny, Zandra Rhodes, to present her Textiles Award.


Zandra Rhodes, illustrated by Paul Shinn

The competition was fierce here – all were fantastic – but it was Anna Lee’s literally fierce collection of big cat prints that triumphed.

Dylan Jones, editor of GQ Magazine, presented Thomas Crisp of Ravensbourne with the marvellous Menswear prize, owing to his sleek, sophisticated tailoring.


Dylan Jones, illustrated by June Chanpoomidole

Rhea Fields (yay!) from Northbrook college won the womenswear award for her covetable collection and unique use of materials, presented by Mark Eley of Eley Kishimoto.


Mark Eley, illustrated by Lisa Billvik

So, the moment we’d all waited for (and in my case queued, sweated and been reduced to tears for) was the River Island Gold Award. God knows how the likes of River Island design director Naomi Dominique, Lorraine Candy of Elle and Kim Jones chose the winner, but it was down to fellow judge Alberta Ferretti to present the award.


Alberta Ferretti, illustrated by Paolo Caravello

And the winner was…

…Rebecca Thompson from Manchester Met! Thoroughly deserved for her inspirational collection. Alberta Ferretti proclaimed that Rebecca had triumphed because of her ‘unusual and interesting combination of fabrics and for the contemporary feeling of her collection’.

As the ticker tape covered Rebecca and her models, I thought to myself,’What a freakin’ fabulous week.’

Categories ,Alberta Ferretti, ,Amsterdam Fashion Institute, ,Anna Lee, ,Awards, ,Big cats, ,Britain’s Got Talent, ,Caryn Franklin, ,Diversity, ,Dylan Jones, ,Earls Court, ,Elle Magazine, ,Erin O’ Connor, ,Fashion Week, ,Gala Show, ,GFW, ,girls aloud, ,Gold Award, ,Graduate Fashion Week 2010, ,International Show, ,Kim Jones, ,london, ,Lorraine Candy, ,Manchester Metropolitan University, ,menswear, ,models, ,Naomi Dominique, ,Naomi New, ,Nicola Roberts, ,Northbrook College, ,Northumbria, ,Rebecca Thompson, ,Rhea Fields, ,River Island, ,Roya Hesam, ,Textiles Award, ,Ticker Tape, ,Womenswear, ,Zandra Rhodes

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with legendary fashion illustrator David Downton

David Downton is one of the most prolific living fashion illustrators, sickness and by far my favourite (no offence, healing contributors!) His loose, dosage visionary style seems so effortless and radiates elegance and beauty. Beginning his career as a commercial illustrator, it wasn’t until he attended Paris couture shows over a decade ago that he really began to explore fashion illustration. Since then, he’s created images of the world’s most groundbreaking fashion and its most beautiful women. From Dior to Dita Von Teese, he’s captured the essence and spirit of women and fashion like no other image maker before him. His images are everywhere, in books, in magazines, on billboards, on the walls of illustration students’ bedrooms and hell – even M&S tote bags.

This month sees the launch of Downton’s first solo book – Masters of Fashion Illustration. Inside, it explores the work of the greatest fashion illustrators of the twentieth century as well as a good look at his own work. You’re in for a treat here – page after page of lavish images celebrate the genre, featuring the greats of fashion illustration as well as looking at the influence of other artists and designers.

In the run up to the publication of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, I spoke to David about his illustrious career and the new book…

Hi David! I’m worried about asking all the questions you’ve been asked already… but… How did you become a fashion illustrator?
In a way, I was ‘mugged’ by fashion. I was fairly well established as an all-round commercial illustrator – who occasionally took on  fashion commissions –  when the FT sent me to Paris to draw at the couture shows. That was in July 1996 and I felt like I’d been given the keys to a magic kingdom.

How do your pieces come together?
Surprisingly slowly. I keep working until it looks effortless, which means doing a lot of drawing. I am looking for a kind of controlled spontaneity.

What techniques do you use?
It really depends on the brief, my mood and what I am trying to convey. I love using Rotring ink, because it is such a rich black and Dr. Marten’s black ink, because it has a velvety, violet cast to it. I also use gouache, watercolour, oil stick, occasionally acrylics… really anything that seems appropriate or inspiring at a given moment.

What qualities do fashion illustrations have that photographs or film don’t?
A personal sensibility (very few illustrations are the result of a team effort). A sense of the moment, fluidity, dexterity. Drawings tell the truth without needing to be accurate. The camera is a gadget (and we all love gadgets), but we have been saturated by photographic imagery. It’s a point and shoot world.

Who has been your favourite subject to draw, portrait-wise?
In no particular order: Cate Blanchett, Dita Von Teese, Erin O’ Connor, Paloma Picasso, Lady Amanda Harlech, Linda Evangelista and Carmen. I’ll stop there, but the truth is, everyone I’ve drawn has been inspiring.

Which designers are your favourites to illustrate?
Lacroix, Dior, Gaultier, Chanel, Valentino…. the masters.

Which other image makers have inspired you/do you admire?
Again, too many to list fully. How about Matisse, Boldini, Picasso, Francis Bacon, Euan Uglow, Réne Gruau, Mats Gustafsson, Tony Viramontes, Abraham Ganes, Al Hirshfield and Bob Peak to kick off with?

How do your collaborations come around?
It depends – sometimes I think of a project I’d love to do and pursue it….  At other times it comes to me, either directly, or via my agent. There are no hard and fast rules, but I’m always trying to scare something up.

Here at Amelia’s Magazine, we love fashion illustration and Amelia’s next book will be a celebration of the genre. What advice would you give to our army of up-and-coming illustrators?
My advice would be simple; keep drawing. You can’t be too good at it. And when you’re not drawing, keep looking, training your eye. Be professional. Fashion illustration is a profession, as well as a passion. Most of all enjoy it; you have the whole world at your fingertips.

There seems to be a real revival of fashion illustration at the moment – magazines and websites are showcasing sketchbooks and commissioning more and more illustrators and exhibitions are popping up everywhere. Why do you think illustration excites people?
I was once working backstage at Dior and a model said “Drawing… wow, that’s new!” I thought, ‘drawing is now so old, it’s new!’ In other words, like everything else it’s cyclical. I think a lot of people just forgot about it. But, to be honest, although everyone talks about a revival, fashion illustration never really went anywhere. Perhaps you just needed to look harder.

Will you ever use a computer as part of your imagemaking?!
Never say never, as they say.

What can we expect from the new book?
It’s beautiful! Gorgeous! A celebration of my favourite fashion illustrators from the turn of the 20th century up until the late 80s, followed by a portfolio of my own work.

How did the book come together? Did you enjoy creating it?
I worked very closely with the designer, Karen Morgan, and loved every agonising minute of it! It was a big leap for me. I’d done 2 issues of my own fashion illustration magazine Pourquoi Pas? and I thought I knew what I was doing, nevertheless it was daunting to do a 240 page book in my ‘spare’ time. But it was a labour of love; I got to look at the the work of the artists I most love; I met  Tony Viramontes’ brother and  René Bouché’s widow; I had access to the Vogue archive. I have to say, the publishers (Laurence King) were brilliant, very indulgent and I think we are all proud of what we achieved.

So, what else do you get up to?
I have two teenage children (actually my daughter’s 20, now), so all the usual things. I’m a lazy workaholic. When I’m not working I am very happy doing ‘nothing’. I live in the countryside an hour from London; a long way from the world of fashion.

David will be giving a talk at the London College of Fashion on Thursday 9th December. Keep an eye on our listings section for details soon!

Masters of Fashion Illustration by David Downton is out now, published by Laurence King. All images courtesy of David Downton.

Categories ,Abraham Ganes, ,acrylics, ,Al Hirshfield, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Bob Peak, ,Boldini, ,Carmen, ,Cate Blanchett, ,chanel, ,couture, ,David Downton, ,Dior, ,Dita Von Teese, ,Dr. Martens, ,Erin O’ Connor, ,Euan Uglow, ,fashion, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Francis Bacon, ,Gaultier, ,gouache, ,Lacroix, ,Lady Amanda Harlech, ,Linda Evangelista, ,london, ,M&S, ,matisse, ,Mats Gustafsson, ,oil stick, ,Paloma Picasso, ,paris, ,picasso, ,Pourquoi Pas, ,René Bouché, ,Réne Gruau, ,Rotring ink, ,Tony Viramontes, ,Valentino, ,watercolour

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with legendary fashion illustrator David Downton

David Downton is one of the most prolific living fashion illustrators, sickness and by far my favourite (no offence, healing contributors!) His loose, dosage visionary style seems so effortless and radiates elegance and beauty. Beginning his career as a commercial illustrator, it wasn’t until he attended Paris couture shows over a decade ago that he really began to explore fashion illustration. Since then, he’s created images of the world’s most groundbreaking fashion and its most beautiful women. From Dior to Dita Von Teese, he’s captured the essence and spirit of women and fashion like no other image maker before him. His images are everywhere, in books, in magazines, on billboards, on the walls of illustration students’ bedrooms and hell – even M&S tote bags.

This month sees the launch of Downton’s first solo book – Masters of Fashion Illustration. Inside, it explores the work of the greatest fashion illustrators of the twentieth century as well as a good look at his own work. You’re in for a treat here – page after page of lavish images celebrate the genre, featuring the greats of fashion illustration as well as looking at the influence of other artists and designers.

In the run up to the publication of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, I spoke to David about his illustrious career and the new book…

Hi David! I’m worried about asking all the questions you’ve been asked already… but… How did you become a fashion illustrator?
In a way, I was ‘mugged’ by fashion. I was fairly well established as an all-round commercial illustrator – who occasionally took on  fashion commissions –  when the FT sent me to Paris to draw at the couture shows. That was in July 1996 and I felt like I’d been given the keys to a magic kingdom.

How do your pieces come together?
Surprisingly slowly. I keep working until it looks effortless, which means doing a lot of drawing. I am looking for a kind of controlled spontaneity.

What techniques do you use?
It really depends on the brief, my mood and what I am trying to convey. I love using Rotring ink, because it is such a rich black and Dr. Marten’s black ink, because it has a velvety, violet cast to it. I also use gouache, watercolour, oil stick, occasionally acrylics… really anything that seems appropriate or inspiring at a given moment.

What qualities do fashion illustrations have that photographs or film don’t?
A personal sensibility (very few illustrations are the result of a team effort). A sense of the moment, fluidity, dexterity. Drawings tell the truth without needing to be accurate. The camera is a gadget (and we all love gadgets), but we have been saturated by photographic imagery. It’s a point and shoot world.

Who has been your favourite subject to draw, portrait-wise?
In no particular order: Cate Blanchett, Dita Von Teese, Erin O’ Connor, Paloma Picasso, Lady Amanda Harlech, Linda Evangelista and Carmen. I’ll stop there, but the truth is, everyone I’ve drawn has been inspiring.

Which designers are your favourites to illustrate?
Lacroix, Dior, Gaultier, Chanel, Valentino…. the masters.

Which other image makers have inspired you/do you admire?
Again, too many to list fully. How about Matisse, Boldini, Picasso, Francis Bacon, Euan Uglow, Réne Gruau, Mats Gustafsson, Tony Viramontes, Abraham Ganes, Al Hirshfield and Bob Peak to kick off with?

How do your collaborations come around?
It depends – sometimes I think of a project I’d love to do and pursue it….  At other times it comes to me, either directly, or via my agent. There are no hard and fast rules, but I’m always trying to scare something up.

Here at Amelia’s Magazine, we love fashion illustration and Amelia’s next book will be a celebration of the genre. What advice would you give to our army of up-and-coming illustrators?
My advice would be simple; keep drawing. You can’t be too good at it. And when you’re not drawing, keep looking, training your eye. Be professional. Fashion illustration is a profession, as well as a passion. Most of all enjoy it; you have the whole world at your fingertips.

There seems to be a real revival of fashion illustration at the moment – magazines and websites are showcasing sketchbooks and commissioning more and more illustrators and exhibitions are popping up everywhere. Why do you think illustration excites people?
I was once working backstage at Dior and a model said “Drawing… wow, that’s new!” I thought, ‘drawing is now so old, it’s new!’ In other words, like everything else it’s cyclical. I think a lot of people just forgot about it. But, to be honest, although everyone talks about a revival, fashion illustration never really went anywhere. Perhaps you just needed to look harder.

Will you ever use a computer as part of your imagemaking?!
Never say never, as they say.

What can we expect from the new book?
It’s beautiful! Gorgeous! A celebration of my favourite fashion illustrators from the turn of the 20th century up until the late 80s, followed by a portfolio of my own work.

How did the book come together? Did you enjoy creating it?
I worked very closely with the designer, Karen Morgan, and loved every agonising minute of it! It was a big leap for me. I’d done 2 issues of my own fashion illustration magazine Pourquoi Pas? and I thought I knew what I was doing, nevertheless it was daunting to do a 240 page book in my ‘spare’ time. But it was a labour of love; I got to look at the the work of the artists I most love; I met  Tony Viramontes’ brother and  René Bouché’s widow; I had access to the Vogue archive. I have to say, the publishers (Laurence King) were brilliant, very indulgent and I think we are all proud of what we achieved.

So, what else do you get up to?
I have two teenage children (actually my daughter’s 20, now), so all the usual things. I’m a lazy workaholic. When I’m not working I am very happy doing ‘nothing’. I live in the countryside an hour from London; a long way from the world of fashion.

David will be giving a talk at the London College of Fashion on Thursday 9th December. Keep an eye on our listings section for details soon!

Masters of Fashion Illustration by David Downton is out now, published by Laurence King. All images courtesy of David Downton.

Categories ,Abraham Ganes, ,acrylics, ,Al Hirshfield, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Bob Peak, ,Boldini, ,Carmen, ,Cate Blanchett, ,chanel, ,couture, ,David Downton, ,Dior, ,Dita Von Teese, ,Dr. Martens, ,Erin O’ Connor, ,Euan Uglow, ,fashion, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Francis Bacon, ,Gaultier, ,gouache, ,Lacroix, ,Lady Amanda Harlech, ,Linda Evangelista, ,london, ,M&S, ,matisse, ,Mats Gustafsson, ,oil stick, ,Paloma Picasso, ,paris, ,picasso, ,Pourquoi Pas, ,René Bouché, ,Réne Gruau, ,Rotring ink, ,Tony Viramontes, ,Valentino, ,watercolour

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