Amelia’s Magazine | Tata Naka: London Fashion Week S/S 2014 Presentation Review

Tata Naka S/S 2014 by Laura Hickman
Tata Naka S/S 2014 by Laura Hickman.

My last write up for this season features the new collection from the ever wonderful twins behind Tata Naka. This season they eschewed the cool light of the Portico Rooms (no longer used for LFW presentations) to show in the newly created Studio space on the lower levels of Somerset House. Given that this is a dark venue it was a wise decision to shoot with plenty of flash against a simple black backdrop, the girls rearranged on blacked out props, sometimes with parts of their body obscured. Given the complicated set designs of the past few seasons this was probably a relief to put together.

Tata Naka SS 2014-photography by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka SS 2014-photography by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka SS 2014-photography by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka SS 2014-photography by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka SS 2014-photography by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka SS 2014-photography by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka SS 2014-photography by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka SS 2014-photography by Amelia Gregory.

This season the girls delved into a wealth of inspiration left behind by Sergei Diaghilev and his iconic Ballet Russes. The bold constructivist shapes that characterised his graphic costumes and set designs were made for these girls to expand on in their inimitable style. The collection was shown in staggered stages so that Tata Naka could shoot their look book, so I only had time to view one part. By a stroke of luck it may well have been my favourite, with geometric designs and lettering placed in great swipes of glorious colour across cream and black grounds on simple calf length strapless flapper dresses, a sleeveless playsuit and a twosie lounge suit with hexagon embellishments. For summer a simple 80s style tank swimsuit looked perfect worn with slicked back hair and heels.

Tata Naka S/S 2014 by Daisy Steele
Tata Naka S/S 2014 by Daisy Steele.

Other parts of the collection (which you can view here) featured dotty net dresses encrusted with giant appliqué stars, jigsaw panels in sugary pastels, and pop art style placement prints on strapless prom dresses. After a mild diversion into new territory last season this felt like Tata Naka returning to their rightful groove: every outfit a beautiful (wearable) piece of art in its own right.

Categories ,Ballet Russes, ,Book Review, ,Daisy Steele, ,Laura Hickman, ,London Fashion Week, ,Presentation, ,S/S 2014, ,Sergei Diaghilev, ,Somerset House, ,Studio, ,Tata Naka

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


Ziad Ghanem A/W 2013 by Helena Maratheftis

Ziad Ghanem‘s catwalk shows are always momentous: massively oversubscribed, a cat-fight to get into and an array of weird and wonderful creatures desperate to get a glimpse of what the ‘cult couturier’ has delivered this season.


Ziad Ghanem A/W 2013 by Michael Arnold

So imagine my surprise when I arrived a mere fifteen minutes late to find that the show had already started. I darted up the Freemasons’ Hall‘s stairs and the vivacious models were already wowing the crowds. It was a struggle to take pictures between the illustrious millinery of Ziad‘s fans; the pictures that feature here aren’t amazing, particularly since you can’t actually see much of the clothes…


All photography by Matt Bramford

As always, it’s impossible to define this collection in terms of trends or style. It would perhaps be easier to talk about what didn’t appear – you won’t find any tailored trenches or wearable basics here. Instead, Ziad is notorious, infamous and celebrated for frocks that defy seasonality. His blend of couture is one of the rare displays of truly unique craftsmanship at fashion week.

To describe the music as eclectic would be a massive understatement. Munroe Bergdorf had put together a mammoth mixtape of hits across the decades, most of which I now can’t remember so I’ve made a note to make more notes next season. I do remember David Bowie‘s Fashion, George Michael‘s Too Funky and Duran Duran‘s Notorious, tracks synonymous with the catwalk but given a different feel in the majestic setting of the Freemasons’ Hall.


Ziad Ghanem A/W 2013 by Helena Maratheftis

Effervescent models strode one after the other to rapturous applause and deafening whoops. This particular collection had been inspired by Andy Warhol‘s superstar transvestite Candy Darling, star of Flesh and muse of The Velvet Underground. Lavish make-up featured on every model, with Ziad‘s boys wearing as much as his girls. There were hints of the 1980s with Boy George-esque layering and vibrant African patterns.

Some dresses fitted so tightly that some models were forced to walk more slowly than others, while other pieces nipped at the waist but flourished at the hips. A completely diverse selection of fabrics were on offer – couture lace, organza, translucent contrasts and painted cottons. A terrifying model came out waving feathers… with her knockers out and doing a bird impression. Christ, this is hard work. Maybe just look at the pictures. Not that they do this collection any justice.

Monty Python‘s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life accompanied the finale, another unexpected twist as if we needed any more, but an uplifting statement and a glorious finish to this fashion week spectacle.

Categories ,A/W’13, ,boy george, ,couture, ,David Bowie, ,Duran Duran, ,fashion, ,Fashion Scout, ,Feathers, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,George Michael, ,Helena Maratheftis, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Matt Bramford, ,Michael Arnold, ,Monty Python, ,Munroe Bergdorf, ,Tits, ,Womenswear, ,Ziad Ghanem

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Amelia’s Magazine | The 2013 FAD Awards: London Fashion Week Catwalk Review


Stephanie Kitchen by Warren Clarke

The Fashion Awareness Direct (FAD) Awards are always an end-of-fashion-week treat. After five days of the freshest fashion talent dominating the catwalks at the Fashion Scout venue, FAD looks even further into the future at the best of the country’s undergraduate talent, based each season around a different theme.


Louis Anderson-Bythell – all photography by Matt Bramford

There could be no better a theme in this age of global change and austerity than ‘Future Optimism‘, which was the brief for this year’s students. Over 100 undergraduates submitted work for the competition, with fifteen entries showcased at this climatic event.


Anna Kim by Gabriel Ayala

Here’s a quick photographic rundown of the fifteen entries:

MATTHEW O’BRIEN

LUCINDA ROBERTS

STEPHANOS KONSTANTIOU


Stephanos Konstantiou by Laura Hickman

ROBERT MILLS

STEPHANIE KITCHEN

JOSEPH HORTON

CHELSEY CROSSLAND

LOUIS ANDERSON-BYTHELL

AYSHA SIMPSON

NNEKA OKORIE

KIMBERLEY PHILLIPS

LAURA CHITTENDEN

ANNA KIM

ESTELA NEVINSKAITE

MORWENNA DARWELL

And so on to the winners. It must have been a tough job for Hilary Alexander, Fashion Scout’s Martyn Roberts, Topshops’ Geraldine O’Brien, FAD’s Claire Muldoon and our pal Milly Jackson (who won the 2011 Award) to choose a winner.


Sitting at the end of the catwalk is fantastic for shots of models but not so fantastic if the awards action takes place at the opposite end.

One of my personal favourites, Nneka Okorie‘s glorious menswear, took one of the runner up prizes. Her slick trench-coats with digital printing techniques brought both expert tailoring and vivid colours to the catwalk and I loved the discrete details of city skylights on a backpack and trouser hems.

Stephanos Konstantiou took the other runner up prize with his futuristic neoprene collection with rigid cutaway details. His laser-cut houndstooth pattern was completely original, and I enjoyed the sharp silhouettes that his collection projected. Nneka and Stephanos both take home five hundred quid and an industry placement. Well done, pals!

The winner, described by Hilary Alexander as ‘unanimous’ and ‘one to watch’ for the coming seasons, was, deservedly, Stephanie Kitchen. A final year student at Bath Spa University (always a good show at Graduate Fashion Week), Stephanie’s innovative cycle wear earned cheers when it first appeared at the beginning of the show and rapturous applause when it was announced Stephanie had won. This collection brought together wearability, sustainability, style and functionality all in one. The cycle sunglasses were a hit, too.

Stephanie wins £1000 and an industry placement and her designs were also shown at London Fashion Weekend. I don’t think this will be the last time we see Stephanie on the London fashion catwalks.


Winner Stephanie Kitchen by Milly Jackson for FAD

Categories ,2013, ,Anna Kim, ,Awards, ,Aysha Simpson, ,BA, ,catwalk, ,Chelsey Crossland, ,Estela Nevinskaite, ,FAD, ,Fashion Scout, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Gabriel Ayala, ,Hilary Alexander, ,Joseph Horton, ,Kimberley Phillips, ,Laura Chittenden, ,Laura Hickman, ,London Fashion Week, ,Louis Anderson-Bythell, ,Lucinda Roberts, ,Matt Bramford, ,Matthew O’Brien, ,menswear, ,Milly Jackson, ,Morwenna Darwell, ,Nneka Okorie, ,review, ,Robert Mills, ,Stephanie Kitchen, ,Stephanos Konstantinou, ,students, ,sustainability, ,undergraduate, ,Warren Clarke, ,Womenswear

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


Ziad Ghanem A/W 2013 by Helena Maratheftis

Ziad Ghanem‘s catwalk shows are always momentous: massively oversubscribed, a cat-fight to get into and an array of weird and wonderful creatures desperate to get a glimpse of what the ‘cult couturier’ has delivered this season.


Ziad Ghanem A/W 2013 by Michael Arnold

So imagine my surprise when I arrived a mere fifteen minutes late to find that the show had already started. I darted up the Freemasons’ Hall‘s stairs and the vivacious models were already wowing the crowds. It was a struggle to take pictures between the illustrious millinery of Ziad‘s fans; the pictures that feature here aren’t amazing, particularly since you can’t actually see much of the clothes…


All photography by Matt Bramford

As always, it’s impossible to define this collection in terms of trends or style. It would perhaps be easier to talk about what didn’t appear – you won’t find any tailored trenches or wearable basics here. Instead, Ziad is notorious, infamous and celebrated for frocks that defy seasonality. His blend of couture is one of the rare displays of truly unique craftsmanship at fashion week.

To describe the music as eclectic would be a massive understatement. Munroe Bergdorf had put together a mammoth mixtape of hits across the decades, most of which I now can’t remember so I’ve made a note to make more notes next season. I do remember David Bowie‘s Fashion, George Michael‘s Too Funky and Duran Duran‘s Notorious, tracks synonymous with the catwalk but given a different feel in the majestic setting of the Freemasons’ Hall.


Ziad Ghanem A/W 2013 by Helena Maratheftis

Effervescent models strode one after the other to rapturous applause and deafening whoops. This particular collection had been inspired by Andy Warhol‘s superstar transvestite Candy Darling, star of Flesh and muse of The Velvet Underground. Lavish make-up featured on every model, with Ziad‘s boys wearing as much as his girls. There were hints of the 1980s with Boy George-esque layering and vibrant African patterns.

Some dresses fitted so tightly that some models were forced to walk more slowly than others, while other pieces nipped at the waist but flourished at the hips. A completely diverse selection of fabrics were on offer – couture lace, organza, translucent contrasts and painted cottons. A terrifying model came out waving feathers… with her knockers out and doing a bird impression. Christ, this is hard work. Maybe just look at the pictures. Not that they do this collection any justice.

Monty Python‘s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life accompanied the finale, another unexpected twist as if we needed any more, but an uplifting statement and a glorious finish to this fashion week spectacle.

Categories ,A/W’13, ,boy george, ,couture, ,David Bowie, ,Duran Duran, ,fashion, ,Fashion Scout, ,Feathers, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,George Michael, ,Helena Maratheftis, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Matt Bramford, ,Michael Arnold, ,Monty Python, ,Munroe Bergdorf, ,Tits, ,Womenswear, ,Ziad Ghanem

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Amelia’s Magazine | The London Fashion Week Virgin: Estethica Review

Illustration by Avril Kelly http://cargocollective.com/avrilkelly

There’s something about coming out of the Tube in an area you’ve never been to before. I realise this is an extremely London-centric point, order but bear with me – when you find yourself spat out onto a brand new street it’s like discovering a different city. But then you look up and see the familiar roundel and you know that yes, it’s still London. It’s interesting how so many of us seem to come to London to experience its variety, only to entrench ourselves in one specific part of the city. Some (who, me?) may even develop a few prejudices about certain other parts of the city too, as if London were some sort of microcosm of the world … Oh actually that last bit’s about right, isn’t it. ‘There is in London all that life can afford,’ Samuel Johnson famously said, and it’s very true. But still, going all the way to Clapham on a Saturday morning? SOUTH London? Really!

But last weekend I went to Clapham for the very first time, because that’s where the Papered Parlour is and I’d been looking forward to their silversmithing class for weeks. I resurfaced from the Tube at Clapham Common, curiously peeking around while the nice man with the coffee cart ground beans from scratch to make my espresso. The Papered Parlour is just up the road, hidden behind a plain door in a side street. Claire and Louise, the workshop’s founders, weren’t there, but my fellow would-be smithers and I were welcomed by Hana and our teacher, Caren Hartley.

Upcycled jewellery by Madi http://www.madiillustration.co.uk

Jewellery upcycling, or recycling of old items, was the theme for last Saturday’s seminar. We each poured out our bags of old, neglected jewellery, hoping Caren would be able to help us make something usable out of it. I’d brought two rings I was hoping to fix, having broken both of them within weeks of each other after having worn them every day for years. I’d also brought some broken brooches my grandma had given me, as well as a few other pieces I weren’t wearing. Having just told the group we could not use heat on any item that wasn’t pure silver or gold, Caren shook her head at my beloved moonstone ring. ‘You can’t heat anything with a gemstone as it will break,’ Caren said. Araldite glue it is, then.

My mother’s old floral pendant also got the brush-off from Caren: ‘That’s pewter, it would melt before you could do anything with it.’ This is the main danger when working with old jewellery, as you haven’t made it yourself and hence you can’t be completely sure about the metal composition. Caren studied the pendant, curved and prone to annoying swinging, concluding: ‘You could flatten it, with the mallet.’ Mallet! I was expecting delicate tools, tiny adjustments and boiling frustration, but it turns out silversmithing includes plenty of hammer action.

Caren Hartley

The next few hours went by in a flash. After my mallet fun I got the little pliers and snippers, changing the broken grandma brooches into pendants. Rough edges were smoothed down with the metal files – silver is quite soft when you’re working with it. Silversmithing is also a surprisingly dirty activity, with the suds from my hands running black as I washed before the cake break. It can be dangerous too – judging by the fact they made us sign some sort of release before letting us use the saw.

Make do and mend by Naomi Law http://www.nimlawdraws.co.uk

Halfway through the day we were introduced to the blowtorch, used not only to join pieces of metal together but also to prepare silver to be worked on. Heating up the metal to reach ‘the cherry red temperature’ loosens the molecules within the silver, Caren explained, meaning you can work on it. My main task with the blowtorch was to mend my ring, a little lady who wraps her legs around your finger. I’d got the ring half price at a craft fair nearly ten years ago, and worn it every day until the poor girl broke her leg about two years ago. High street silversmiths didn’t seem very keen on sorting this for me though, and now that I’ve seen how it’s done I can see why: it’s fiddly.

I put on the leather apron and the protective goggles, ready for the big moment. ‘Now, angle the flame away from me, as I will be holding the leg piece,’ Caren said as I lit the torch, wondering if she gets paid extra if a student maims her. But as the little lady turned cherry under the blue flame, everyone’s digits remained intact and the leg was back where it belonged. Okay, so it sticks out a bit more than it did before, but a little tap of the hammer and Bob’s your uncle.

Caren and Eva by Avril Kelly http://cargocollective.com/avrilkelly

Detail

I left the Papered Parlour with eight new pieces of jewellery, having altered or mended old things I either couldn’t or wouldn’t wear. My hands were aching as I counted up change for another espresso from the cart, about to go back to the familiar side of the river. As I stood on the platform waiting for my train, I absent-mindedly ran my thumb along the lady-ring. She’s back, and I fixed her all by myself.

Result

The Papered Parlour is in Clapham: 7 Prescott Place, London SW4 6BS. For more information about the spring workshop schedule see our listing – there are more silversmithing workshops to come, plus printmaking, sewing, photography, quilting and how to make your own shoes. Also, the Papered Parlour is putting on two mini-festivals at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green this spring: ‘Ethical fashion in the age of austerity’ tonight (3 March) and ‘It’s your write!’ next month (7 April) – for more detail see our listing here.


Illustration by Avril Kelly

There’s something about coming out of the Tube in an area you’ve never been to before. I realise this is an extremely London-centric point, treat but bear with me – when you find yourself spat out onto a brand new street it’s like discovering a different city. But then you look up and see the familiar roundel and you know that yes, buy it’s still London. It’s interesting how so many of us seem to come to London to experience its variety, only to entrench ourselves in one specific part of the city. Some (who, me?) may even develop a few prejudices about certain other parts of the city too, as if London were some sort of microcosm of the world … Oh actually that last bit’s about right, isn’t it. ‘There is in London all that life can afford,’ Samuel Johnson famously said, and it’s very true. But still, going all the way to Clapham on a Saturday morning? SOUTH London? Really!

But last weekend I went to Clapham for the very first time, because that’s where the Papered Parlour is and I’d been looking forward to their silversmithing class for weeks. I resurfaced from the Tube at Clapham Common, curiously peeking around while the nice man with the coffee cart ground beans from scratch to make my espresso. The Papered Parlour is just up the road, hidden behind a plain door in a side street. Claire and Louise, the workshop’s founders, weren’t there, but my fellow would-be smithers and I were welcomed by Hana and our teacher, Caren Hartley.


Upcycled jewellery by Madi

Jewellery upcycling, or recycling of old items, was the theme for last Saturday’s seminar. We each poured out our bags of old, neglected jewellery, hoping Caren would be able to help us make something usable out of it. I’d brought two rings I was hoping to fix, having broken both of them within weeks of each other after having worn them every day for years. I’d also brought some broken brooches my grandma had given me, as well as a few other pieces I weren’t wearing. Having just told the group we could not use heat on any item that wasn’t pure silver or gold, Caren shook her head at my beloved moonstone ring. ‘You can’t heat anything with a gemstone as it will break,’ Caren said. Araldite glue it is, then.

My mother’s old floral pendant also got the brush-off from Caren: ‘That’s pewter, it would melt before you could do anything with it.’ This is the main danger when working with old jewellery, as you haven’t made it yourself and hence you can’t be completely sure about the metal composition. Caren studied the pendant, curved and prone to annoying swinging, concluding: ‘You could flatten it, with the mallet.’ Mallet! I was expecting delicate tools, tiny adjustments and boiling frustration, but it turns out silversmithing includes plenty of hammer action.


Caren Hartley

The next few hours went by in a flash. After my mallet fun I got the little pliers and snippers, changing the broken grandma brooches into pendants. Rough edges were smoothed down with the metal files – silver is quite soft when you’re working with it. Silversmithing is also a surprisingly dirty activity, with the suds from my hands running black as I washed before the cake break. It can be dangerous too – judging by the fact they made us sign some sort of release before letting us use the saw.


The blue flame by Naomi Law

Halfway through the day we were introduced to the blowtorch, used not only to join pieces of metal together but also to prepare silver to be worked on. Heating up the metal to reach ‘the cherry red temperature’ loosens the molecules within the silver, Caren explained, meaning you can work on it. My main task with the blowtorch was to mend my ring, a little lady who wraps her legs around your finger. I’d got the ring half price at a craft fair nearly ten years ago, and worn it every day until the poor girl broke her leg about two years ago. High street silversmiths didn’t seem very keen on sorting this for me though, and now that I’ve seen how it’s done I can see why: it’s fiddly.

I put on the leather apron and the protective goggles, ready for the big moment. ‘Now, angle the flame away from me, as I will be holding the leg piece,’ Caren said as I lit the torch, wondering if she gets paid extra if a student maims her. But as the little lady turned cherry under the blue flame, everyone’s digits remained intact and the leg was back where it belonged. Okay, so it sticks out a bit more than it did before, but a little tap of the hammer and Bob’s your uncle.


Caren and Eva by Avril Kelly

I left the Papered Parlour with eight new pieces of jewellery, having altered or mended old things I either couldn’t or wouldn’t wear. My hands were aching as I counted up change for another espresso from the cart, about to go back to the familiar side of the river. As I stood on the platform waiting for my train, I absent-mindedly ran my thumb along the lady-ring. She’s back, and I fixed her all by myself.


Result

The Papered Parlour is in Clapham: 7 Prescott Place, London SW4 6BS. For more information about the spring workshop schedule see our listing – there are more silversmithing workshops to come, plus printmaking, sewing, photography, quilting and how to make your own shoes. Also, the Papered Parlour is putting on two mini-festivals at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green this spring: ‘Ethical fashion in the age of austerity’ tonight (3 March) and ‘It’s your write!’ next month (7 April) – for more detail see our listing here.

My first experience of London Fashion Week was less in at the deep end with the big kids, click and more of a splash about in the shallow end with armbands on. And actually, I found it a rather favourable place in which to position myself.

My task was to skulk around the Estethica and Ecoluxe show rooms and report back on some of my favourite designs, a task I undertook with gusto. Anyone who reads my personal blog will know that I adore beautiful ethically made clothes. So I jumped/squealed at the chance to meet some of the designers and see the clothes up close. I have been watching the rise and shine of some of the new ethical designers with interest, having been introduced to many of them via Amelia’s book (which of course you have bought, yes? Yes?)

My first hurdle in getting to Estethica involved ‘borrowing’ a friends pass and hoping that no one would look at the name on the badge and question my gender when I beeped in. I was a tad nervous approaching Somerset House, but was buoyed on by ‘West End Girls’ which popped onto shuffle at the most opportune moment for the final bit of the walk. I bloody love it when shuffle gets it right. So it was with a strut that I entered Somerset house aided by the Pet Shop Boys, my trusty Spanx and one too many soya latte’s.

My second hurdle was actually finding the room. Directions typically included: “You’re in entirely the wrong place. You need to turn round, go back downstairs and outside, then enter through one of two doors, left again….” I think I went cross eyed. It was located in a particularly awkward spot, which was a shame as the rooms contained some marvellous work. But the getting lost, trekking up and down stairs and being stomped on by lethal platform wedges was worth it. The quality of some of the designs was inspiring and innovative, easily rivalling their ‘non ethical’ neighbours.

I had kind of hoped that I’d be able to blend in with the crowd, take notes and snap pictures before skulking on, but I quickly realised that this would be nigh on impossible.  I soon found myself confabulating with some of the friendly designers and PR people. I was repeatedly asked if I had a card. I didn’t. Rookie error. Lesson learned for next time.  Stall holders craned to read my badge as I smiled sheepishly and surreptitiously covered it with my scarf. I was nervous so wondered around with a slightly creepy perma-grin, but thankfully most of the participants had heard of Amelia’s Magazine so far from being rebuffed, I had a very warm welcome. PHEW.

Ok- on to the clothes. I met lot of lovely people and saw some beautifully crafted clothes, but here are just a few of my favourites.

The jewellery of Little Glass Clementine caught my eye before I had even entered the room, and like a magpie, I was beckoned in by it. Necklaces are made from a marvellous concoction of found objects; from bird skulls and bottle tops, to bath plugs and plastic toys.  They are totally unique, slightly mad (in the bestest of ways) and utterly covetable. Little Glass Clementine is featured in Amelia’s book. See an extract of the interview here .

Goodone pulled me in next, with their soft jersey bodycon dresses and thick woollen belts that begged to be handled. I loved the combination of figure hugging dresses with drapey, overized pieces too, all made from recycled, end of roll and salvaged materials. Feminine yet bolshy. Ace. Goodone are featured in Amelia’s book, see an extract of the interview here:


Illustration by Natasha Thompson

There is something irresistible to me about Joanna Cave’s delicate filigree jewellery. Inspired by ballet and old Art Nouveau costumes, the pieces are delicate and girly yet dramatic and bold. They are made from recycled sterling silver, ethically sourced pearls and vintage ribbon. Joanna cave jewellery is featured in Amelia’s book, see an extract of the interview here:

Actualy, I was pretty spoiled on the jewellery front. Kumvana Gomani uses old bottles and recycled aluminium to create gorgeous long necklaces and pretty earings.


Illustration by Alison Day

The North Circular, an ethical knitwear company, inhabited the corner of one of the rooms, filling it with an impressive alluring installation involving a huge bundle of sheeps wool and TV’s. Apparently the video was showing a piece called ‘metamorphosis’ with Lily Cole in it, but I managed to miss it. Truthfully, muted colours are not my thing, but the pieces were luxurious to feel and beautifully crafted, using British ethically sourced wool.


Illustration by Alison Haines

I loved this bright Pink Ciel dress. Just the right balance of smart and sexy.  All Ciel fabrics are carefully sourced to be as ethical as possible. Sarah Ratty, the founder of Ciel and chair of the Ethical fashion Forum was warm and friendly, and a long time friend of Amelia’s Magazine. She is featured in Amelia’s book, you can read an extract of her interview here.

Illustration by Avril kelly

I have to say that, despite the fact that the person in the stall seemed too busy to talk, I fell in love with Max Jenny. My favourite pieces were their colourful cape’s, for the following reasons.  They are waterproof; this satisfies my northern fell-walking roots. They are capes; this satisfies my Drama Queen roots. Amazingly their products are made from recycled PET bottles, which satisfies my inner hippie. Tick, tick. tick. MaxJenny is featured in Amelia’s Compedium of Fashion Illustration.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

Lu Flux’s designs also caught my eye. I have always loved their use of colour and therefore loved this colourful leather rucksack. By working with salvaged, vintage and organic fabrics, that combine pleats, knitting and patchwork, the collection makes something new out of something old. .Lu Flux is featured in Amelia’s Compedium of Fashion Illustration. You can read an extract of their interview here.


Photograph by Damian Ucieda Cortes

Tara St James made use of copper pipe work in her gorgeous, chunky jewellery, and I also loved the blanket capes too. Chic and snuggley. Good for campsites and cocktails, bonus.


Photograph by Lauren Bilanko

And then I was out the door again, navigating Somerset House’s warren like corridors. I presumed I’d be surrounded by long legged, anorexic, bitchy looking women. I did see some ultra skinny, unhealthy looking people, which will always sadden me, but there were also plenty of healthy looking amazingly dressed people there too. In fact, I enjoyed the London Fashion Week street style stuff as much as the main show photo’s (perhaps sacrilegious?). But what really struck me was that people were, well, NICE. And mostly normal. Which I have to say I wasn’t expecting.

Next up, I’ll be reviewing Ecoluxe. You can buy Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration (featuring the very best in ethical fashion design) RIGHT HERE.

Categories ,4 Equal Sides, ,ACOFI, ,Alison Day, ,Alison Haines, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Avril Kelly, ,ciel, ,Ecoluxe, ,estethica, ,esthetica, ,goodone, ,Hannah Bullivant, ,Joanna Cave, ,Kumvana Gomani, ,lfw, ,Lily Cole, ,Little Glass Clementine, ,London Fashion Week, ,Lu Flux, ,Matilde Sazio, ,Max Jenny, ,Maxjenny, ,Natasha Thompson, ,pet shop boys, ,Somerset House, ,Soya Latte, ,Spanks, ,Tara St James, ,The North Circular

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Amelia’s Magazine | Russian Fashion: RGataullina and Poustovit at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia A/W 2011

Matt-Thomas-Poustovit Russia
Poustovit by Matt Thomas.

Get this, web Moscow doesn’t just have one fashion week… no, side effects it has three, all competing for attention. But exactly who’s attention is anyone’s guess. You know how London Fashion Week is full of professionals? Well, journalists, the occasional buyer, lots of bloggers… but at least they are adults right? Well, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia (there is also a Volvo sponsored fashion week and one called Cycles and Seasons) was full of CHILDREN. I am not kidding you, I have never seen so many smooth plump young faces. Just check out my photos if you don’t believe me! I have no idea who they were, other than perhaps the offspring of many moneyed oligarchs, who despite their youth can easily afford to order their own expensive clothing.

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

I attended two Russian fashion designer shows at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia. The first was RGataullina by Yana Gataullina, which started with two models, a direct interpretation of the image on the invites I had seen. They moved down the catwalk side by side in a stately fashion, wearing ridiculous fascinators and simple printed monochrome jersey dresses of the type you might buy in the middle aged section of a department store. The collection then set off on another tangent, with ruffled metallic floral creations chucked on top of stretch fabric dresses.

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia RGataullina Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia RGataullina Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia RGataullina Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia RGataullina Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia RGataullina Photography by Amelia Gregory
RGataullina A/W 2011.

RGataullina by Sara Japanwalla
RGataullina by Sara Japanwalla
RGataullina by Sara Japanwalla.

The most interesting pieces appeared briefly, were barely developed as an idea, and then vanished: tulip shaped skirts with bodices in gunmetal grey, tufts of netting sprouting from zippered slits. But then for the denouement… the likes of which I have NEVER seen at a catwalk show. In fact I was so flabbergasted that I barely managed to take any photos. The music had been steadily increasing in tempo when the designer swept out to take her final bow through the parade of models. And as she did so the models collectively threw their hands in the air and started raving to a frantic blast of techno. It was utterly bizarre and out of context… who knows what must have been going through her mind.

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia RGataullina Photography by Amelia Gregory
RGataullina by Sara Japanwalla
RGataullina by Sara Japanwalla.

The second show was more promising: Lilia Poustovit is a Ukrainian fashion designer who conceptualises romantic traditions. In essence this meant lots of sweeping fabric in electric blue, red, orange and green. I liked the abstract print design and I liked the round inlaid feature on the back on one shirt dress. But there really wasn’t that much going on to get excited about: it wasn’t fashion as we have come to know it, just nice wearable clothing of the kind any store might sell.

Poustovit by Matt Thomas
Poustovit by Matt Thomas.

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia Gregory

Russian Designer at Russian Fashion Week Poustovit by Sam Parr
Poustovit by Sam Parr.

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia Gregory
Poustovit A/W 2011.

Poustovit by Evannave
Poustovit by Evannave.

Poustovit A/W 2011 by Amber Cassidy
Poustovit A/W 2011 by Amber Cassidy.

Considering how many great models come out of Russia it was something of a surprise that there were so few world class models present on the catwalk… or maybe not. There were six packed days of shows, so they cannot have been heavily edited for quality, which was reflected in the fact that they felt seriously under-attended by journalists and buyers, in fact the audience was really quite peculiar. It was almost as if each designer had used their mailing lists to invite faithful customers to what was essentially a private viewing to enable them to order their favourite pieces. Which brings me to my next point… much discussion was had over the state of Russian fashion during my time in Moscow with the British Council. It was generally felt that it is sadly under developed due to the shortage of good design schools combined with the dire state of home manufacturing. You just can’t get any decent production going on – fashion designer Clare Lopeman somewhat nuttily decided to start her own fashion label when she moved to Moscow to run the fashion design department at the British Higher School of Art and Design, and she has found it extremely tough going. It seems you just can’t make the clothes that you dream of in Russia. Not without an almighty struggle.

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia Gregory
Some of the hoopla that surrounded the shows.

Of course, there is extraordinary style to be found throughout Russian design history, and it will surely only be a matter of time before this is put to good use in fashion design. There are already moves to implement a better design discipline through initiatives such as Practicum: British Fashion and new schools such as the British Higher School of Art and Design. Once this discipline is in place the new generation of designers will hopefully be much better equipped to interpret their vast cultural legacy in a new, exciting and contemporary way. Let’s hope the new era ushers in a greater awareness of sustainability too. I can’t wait to see what happens!

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia Gregory

Categories ,Amber Cassidy, ,British Council, ,British Higher School of Art and Design, ,catwalk, ,Clare Lopeman, ,Cycles and Seasons, ,Evannave, ,fashion, ,Lilia Poustovit, ,London Fashion Week, ,Matt Thomas, ,Moscow, ,Oligarch, ,Poustovit, ,Practicum: British Fashion, ,RGataullina, ,Russia!, ,Sam Parr, ,Sara Japanwalla, ,Ukrainian, ,Yana Gataullina

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Amelia’s Magazine | The London Fashion Week Virgin: Estethica Review

My first experience of London Fashion Week was less in at the deep end with the big kids, and more of a splash about in the shallow end with armbands on. And actually, I found it a rather favourable place in which to position myself.

My task was to skulk around the Estethica and Ecoluxe show rooms and report back on some of my favourite designs, a task I undertook with gusto. Anyone who reads my personal blog will know that I adore beautiful ethically made clothes. So I jumped/squealed at the chance to meet some of the designers and see the clothes up close. I have been watching the rise and shine of some of the new ethical designers with interest, having been introduced to many of them via Amelia’s book (which of course you have bought, yes? Yes?)

My first hurdle in getting to Estethica involved ‘borrowing’ a friends pass and hoping that no one would look at the name on the badge and question my gender when I beeped in. I was a tad nervous approaching Somerset House, but was buoyed on by ‘West End Girls’ which popped onto shuffle at the most opportune moment for the final bit of the walk. I bloody love it when shuffle gets it right. So it was with a strut that I entered Somerset house aided by the Pet Shop Boys, my trusty Spanx and one too many soya latte’s.

My second hurdle was actually finding the room. Directions typically included: “You’re in entirely the wrong place. You need to turn round, go back downstairs and outside, then enter through one of two doors, left again….” I think I went cross eyed. It was located in a particularly awkward spot, which was a shame as the rooms contained some marvellous work. But the getting lost, trekking up and down stairs and being stomped on by lethal platform wedges was worth it. The quality of some of the designs was inspiring and innovative, easily rivalling their ‘non ethical’ neighbours.

I had kind of hoped that I’d be able to blend in with the crowd, take notes and snap pictures before skulking on, but I quickly realised that this would be nigh on impossible.  I soon found myself confabulating with some of the friendly designers and PR people. I was repeatedly asked if I had a card. I didn’t. Rookie error. Lesson learned for next time.  Stall holders craned to read my badge as I smiled sheepishly and surreptitiously covered it with my scarf. I was nervous so wondered around with a slightly creepy perma-grin, but thankfully most of the participants had heard of Amelia’s Magazine so far from being rebuffed, I had a very warm welcome. PHEW.

Ok- on to the clothes. I met lot of lovely people and saw some beautifully crafted clothes, but here are just a few of my favourites.

The jewellery of Little Glass Clementine caught my eye before I had even entered the room, and like a magpie, I was beckoned in by it. Necklaces are made from a marvellous concoction of found objects; from bird skulls and bottle tops, to bath plugs and plastic toys.  They are totally unique, slightly mad (in the bestest of ways) and utterly covetable. Little Glass Clementine is featured in Amelia’s book. See an extract of the interview here .

Goodone pulled me in next, with their soft jersey bodycon dresses and thick woollen belts that begged to be handled. I loved the combination of figure hugging dresses with drapey, overized pieces too, all made from recycled, end of roll and salvaged materials. Feminine yet bolshy. Ace. Goodone are featured in Amelia’s book, see an extract of the interview here:


Illustration by Natasha Thompson

There is something irresistible to me about Joanna Cave’s delicate filigree jewellery. Inspired by ballet and old Art Nouveau costumes, the pieces are delicate and girly yet dramatic and bold. They are made from recycled sterling silver, ethically sourced pearls and vintage ribbon. Joanna cave jewellery is featured in Amelia’s book, see an extract of the interview here:

Actualy, I was pretty spoiled on the jewellery front. Kumvana Gomani uses old bottles and recycled aluminium to create gorgeous long necklaces and pretty earings.


Illustration by Alison Day

The North Circular, an ethical knitwear company, inhabited the corner of one of the rooms, filling it with an impressive alluring installation involving a huge bundle of sheeps wool and TV’s. Apparently the video was showing a piece called ‘metamorphosis’ with Lily Cole in it, but I managed to miss it. Truthfully, muted colours are not my thing, but the pieces were luxurious to feel and beautifully crafted, using British ethically sourced wool.


Illustration by Alison Haines

I loved this bright Pink Ciel dress. Just the right balance of smart and sexy.  All Ciel fabrics are carefully sourced to be as ethical as possible. Sarah Ratty, the founder of Ciel and chair of the Ethical fashion Forum was warm and friendly, and a long time friend of Amelia’s Magazine. She is featured in Amelia’s book, you can read an extract of her interview here.

Illustration by Avril kelly

I have to say that, despite the fact that the person in the stall seemed too busy to talk, I fell in love with Max Jenny. My favourite pieces were their colourful cape’s, for the following reasons.  They are waterproof; this satisfies my northern fell-walking roots. They are capes; this satisfies my Drama Queen roots. Amazingly their products are made from recycled PET bottles, which satisfies my inner hippie. Tick, tick. tick. MaxJenny is featured in Amelia’s Compedium of Fashion Illustration.


Illustration by Matilde Sazio

Lu Flux’s designs also caught my eye. I have always loved their use of colour and therefore loved this colourful leather rucksack. By working with salvaged, vintage and organic fabrics, that combine pleats, knitting and patchwork, the collection makes something new out of something old. .Lu Flux is featured in Amelia’s Compedium of Fashion Illustration. You can read an extract of their interview here.


Photograph by Damian Ucieda Cortes

Tara St James made use of copper pipe work in her gorgeous, chunky jewellery, and I also loved the blanket capes too. Chic and snuggley. Good for campsites and cocktails, bonus.


Photograph by Lauren Bilanko

And then I was out the door again, navigating Somerset House’s warren like corridors. I presumed I’d be surrounded by long legged, anorexic, bitchy looking women. I did see some ultra skinny, unhealthy looking people, which will always sadden me, but there were also plenty of healthy looking amazingly dressed people there too. In fact, I enjoyed the London Fashion Week street style stuff as much as the main show photo’s (perhaps sacrilegious?). But what really struck me was that people were, well, NICE. And mostly normal. Which I have to say I wasn’t expecting.

Next up, I’ll be reviewing Ecoluxe. You can buy Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration (featuring the very best in ethical fashion design) RIGHT HERE.

Categories ,4 Equal Sides, ,ACOFI, ,Alison Day, ,Alison Haines, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Avril Kelly, ,ciel, ,Ecoluxe, ,estethica, ,esthetica, ,goodone, ,Hannah Bullivant, ,Joanna Cave, ,Kumvana Gomani, ,lfw, ,Lily Cole, ,Little Glass Clementine, ,London Fashion Week, ,Lu Flux, ,Matilde Sazio, ,Max Jenny, ,Maxjenny, ,Natasha Thompson, ,pet shop boys, ,Somerset House, ,Soya Latte, ,Spanks, ,Tara St James, ,The North Circular

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Amelia’s Magazine | Sally Potter – All the RAGE?

ragejudo

A murder in a New York fashion house. A star cast including Judi Dench, order Jude Law and Eddie Izzard. You might expect a standard film, sick but Sally Potter’s Rage is far from tame. The film is a patchwork of confessional monologues, delivered in front of coloured backdrops.

jude-law-rage

The location shots common to feature films are completely absent. Simplicity is the key in this production. The characters ranging from designer, critic and photographer to pizza boy, financier and his bodyguard, are all seen from the perspective of child blogger Michelangelo. His character remains unseen but we discover that he films the exposés on his mobile phone. We can only assume that the characters thrive on the boys’ innocent gaze, as they share their intimate thoughts and reveal the sometimes-twisted nature of their personas.

rage

I admire Potter for a creative take on a subject matter that has been in vogue for years. We’ve all seen The Devil Wears Prada or the more recent The September Issue. The film includes some great lines, which open up some important questions about the nature of the fashion industry. Fashion critic Mona Carvell (Judi Dench) suggests, “Fashion is not an art form, if anything its pornography to which millions are addicted.” Similarly, Tiny Diamonds (Eddie Izzard) the media mogul states, “In the end, everything and everyone is for sale.”

rage - balaban

The film breaks not only the conceptual ‘norms’ of film, but is also groundbreaking in terms of its circulation. Rage premiered not only in cinemas but also on mobile phones and the Internet. I was at the interactive premier at the British Film Institute where the intention was to connect various cinemas in the UK through live satellite. From the base at the BFI, Skype linked these cinema audience members to the actors in New York and elsewhere around the globe, allowing for a unique Q+A session.

sallypotter

The technical hiccups were relentless but made this a hugely entertaining premier. Eddie Izzard managed to make comic genius out of the playback echo, even resorting to offering his answer written out on a notebook. Jude Law provided a thoughtful analysis of his cross-dressing character Minx, citing Leigh Bowry as reference for his performance.

rageizzard

Lily Cole, fresh from a fashion shoot, perhaps best embodies the contradictions of the fashion industry appearing shy and reflective.

ragelilycole

The disappointing truth is that I found this technically clumsy Q+A more captivating than the film itself. Potter’s decision to focus entirely on the monologue performances of the actors was brave but not entirely successful. While the concept is attractive on paper, in reality the plot becomes weak. Although the actors are talented, their characters could not develop fully in the given time. Subsequently the characters float without cause.

ragesteve

Potter has achieved an interesting film on a tiny budget, stating herself that Rage is a celebration of ‘poor cinema’ that concentrates on text and performance and the basic art of storytelling. The simplicity and intimacy of the filming process, which included only director, actor and soundman is seductive. Equally the film is a timely antithesis to the celebrated London Fashion Week, a hint from Potter’s that we might consider the hidden agendas and invisible faces behind the glamorous face of the catwalk shows.

RAGE-4-A

The inventive means of film distribution, which takes full advantage of the newest technology, could be seen as a counter to the speed at which the fashion industry has adopted the Internet.

My impression is that it is the star cast which holds the film together, allowing for the unusual concept. Yet, I left without really knowing the point of the film. There is a critique of the economy of fashion in the characters narrative, as well as a snub against conspicuous consumption and the power of branding. Potter has previously expressed her resentment at ‘an economic system that turns people into things’. But if her point was to express her own ‘Rage’ through the film, she failed to deliver.

Categories ,Blogging, ,British Film Institute, ,Eddie Izzard, ,Jude Law, ,Judi Dench, ,Lily Cole, ,London Fashion Week, ,RAGE, ,Sally Potter

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

Timur Kim AW2013 by Gareth A Hopkins
Timur Kim LFW A/W 2013 by Gareth A Hopkins

I like my fashion like I like my art: messy. I prefer Pollock to Rembrandt and Matisse to Van Eyck. When I was little my mother would tell me “you look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards.” If someone told me that now I would reply with mock offense, while secretly thrilled; with one hand plumping my hair with great pride and with one leg kicking yesterday’s pop-socks out of my jeans. Okay, okay, it’s not really that extreme, but I do like a bit of rough and ready in my outfits. Despite all this, I can’t help but be charmed by the relaxed sophistication of Timur Kim‘s LFW A/W 2013 collection.

Timur Kim AW 2013
Timur Kim AW 2013
Timur Kim LFW A/W 2013 by Cruz Martinez
Timur Kim LFW A/W 2013 by Cruz Martinez

Timur Kim‘s clothes aren’t as wild as I like them, in fact they aren’t wild at all, but there’s a definite attractive femininity to the dresses as well as a practical, real-life girl vibe. The dresses aren’t the oh so common patronisingly femme I’ve grown used to, and instead the collection is subtle, light and refreshing. Skin for the sake of skin is not a feature of this show and there’s a modesty to the dresses, which are all knee-length, and there’s no cleavage in sight. The colours are muted, never too bright or shocking and the collection comes together really well as a whole.

Timur Kim AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Timur Kim AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Timur Kim AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
The dresses march up and down the runway to American Pie. With brogue-clad feet to complete the image, as well as prints which are inspired by the ceilings of the Hermitage Museum.

Timur Kim AW 2013
Timur Kim AW 2013
Timur Kim LFW A/W 2013 by Cruz Martinez
Timur Kim LFW A/W 2013 by Cruz Martinez

A metallic skirt paired with a casual tee bearing the show logo is my favourite look of Timur Kim‘s collection, and I’m particularly enamoured with the tousled locks of the models. These are models without slicked back, over-styled hair and instead they sport free-flowing freshly-brushed do’s with a hint of bed-head.

Timur Kim AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Timur Kim AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Timur Kim AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Timur Kim AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
The smart geometric-print dresses are ideal for work-wear and there’s plenty of frocks that would suit everything from cocktails to office. The pieces are so wearable in fact, that I can imagine them in my own wardrobe (if I was willing to sell a kidney to cover the cost). The way the seats are arranged at a show make a big difference to the audience, however as a non-frequent Londoner, nothing says ‘underground’ to me like facing a row of strangers with people coming and going between you. This is not helped by the yellow lines on the floor of Freemasons’ Hall. I love watching audiences and although my knowledge of celebrities pretty much begins at Victoria and ends at Beckham, I know my bloggers and notice Susie Bubble, complete with adorable backpack, in the crowd.

Timur Kim AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Timur Kim AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Timur Kim AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Central Saint Martins graduate Timur Kim has come up with a well balanced collection. Although there is a broad range of styles: with cigarette trousers alongside 1950′s skirts; the inspiration for the dresses is subtle with a twist of modernity, making this collection thoroughly indie. Whether it’s a Victorian feel or tribal prints, this Russian designer smartens it up for the modern day woman, then makes sure she lets her hair down.

Timur Kim AW 2013
All Photography by Jessica Cook and Amelia Gregory.

A pretty brunette gets up right before the show starts and walks up and down the runway, as though she’s looking for a friend. People sigh audibly with annoyance at this, perhaps because from day one, they are already accustomed to the LFW crowd attention-seeking which seems to play a part in the dynamics of these events. Or maybe they wish they were walking up the catwalk in their own kitten-heels, play-pretend modelling themselves. The girl seems lost, happy and clueless to the cynical eyes around her. Like Timur Kim‘s clothes, she is unpretentious and all the more beautiful for it.

Categories ,A/W 2013, ,Cruz Martinez, ,Fashion Scout, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Hermitage Museum, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Susie Bubble, ,Timur Kim

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Amelia’s Magazine | Simeon Farrar, The Great British Summertime: New S/S 2012 Season Preview Interview

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Madi Illustrates
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Madi Illustrates

What began as an ‘art experiment’ by London-based Simeon Farrar has now turned into a successful fashion label; winning not only international acclaim but also the prestigious NEWGEN award three times along the way. Despite being crowned a fashion buyer favourite with stockists such as Liberty in the UK and many more in Paris, Tokyo, and Sydney (to name a few), Simeon hasn’t lost sight of his Fine Art training gained at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. Every collection begins with a philosophical root from which the designs and drawings develop and each one-off piece is then created with Simeon’s trademark dash of humour delivered through experiments with colour and print, done by hand in his Shoreditch studio.

Simeon Farrar
Simeon Farrar, all photographs courtesy of Iroquois PR

As someone who trained as a fine artist, what was it that made you want to turn your hand from canvas and paper to fabric?
I’ve always been into printmaking and I used to use a lot of screen-printing in my paintings. I would load them up with all sorts of images and paint over them to form multiple layers. I started putting some of these images on to t-shirts purely as another surface rather than as fashion. The first t-shirts were so loaded with paint like the canvases that they could never be worn. I got so into this that it soon evolved into fashion.

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by JL Illustration
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Jason Lear

As a ‘non-fashion’ person, did you expect to make such a big impression when you first exhibited at London Fashion Week?
Absolutely not. I had no idea what people would think of me. I didn’t even have an order book so I guess I didn’t expect to write any orders. Suddenly I had all these people wanting to order this junk I’d made which I found all a bit weird. It was still an art experiment at that point.

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Abi Hall
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Abi Hall

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about being a designer and the way the world of Fashion works?
As an artist you develop a certain degree of snobbery towards anything that isn’t ‘Art’. I can safely say that I have been cleansed of that snobbery after being welcomed so openly into the fashion world. I’ve learned that it’s all a load of rubbish and an artist just does what ever he/she feels is the most honest path for their creativity and it doesn’t need a label to make it valid.

Neon Butterfly Chiffon Maxi
Butterfly Chiffon Maxi

Your ‘Kate Mouse‘ illustration has become a widely recognised and coveted t-shirt graphic. Why do you think it’s had so much success?
For me it was one of those magical moments when an image just works perfectly. I’d drawn the image for a nursery rhyme collection we were doing at the time and I wanted to do Three Blind Mice. So, to name the file on Photoshop I used ‘Kate Mouse’ so I would recognise it. Then it just clicked, like a light bulb coming on above my head. I think it’s been a success for the same reason. It’s not forced or contrived, just simple and genius. There’s been such a demand ever since her birth that she’s featured in every collection since, with various additions. She gets pimped up every season. Except this forthcoming A/W 2012.

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Alia Gargum
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Alia Gargum

What personally inspired you to create a ‘Kate Mouse’ t-shirt with Net-A-Porter especially for the Japan Earthquake relief appeal?
Two of my staff are Japanese and they have been with me for years so due to that I feel a certain closeness with Japan. We sell a lot in Japan, and since I began the label the Japanese have been so supportive and loyal to my brand that when the earthquake hit it felt like an opportunity to repay some of that. The Kate Mouse print was our obvious big hitter, so I thought it would make the most money if we offered it for the appeal. We did it by ourselves at first, offering a free t-shirt with every donation to Save The Children. That went very well but as we were paying postage we had to limit it to the UK only. My PR company Iroquois and I approached Net-A-Porter so we could take it further. They were amazing with how they took it up and offered so much percentage of the profit to the appeal. I was very impressed with their instant generosity.

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Dana Bocai
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Dana Bocai

Your current S/S 2012 collection not only has your own charming take on the uniquely temperamental British summer through neon colours, raindrop prints and a nod to the new Royalty, but a uniquely feel-good quote that runs throughout. How did the slogan ‘You Are My Silver Lining’ form in your head?
There is always a sense of romance in my collections, and no matter what the theme I always like to bring that in. I like the idea of someone being your Silver Lining. No matter what happens in life there is someone who’s very presence brings with it a sense of hope or a way out of darkness.

Slogan Print Tote with Leather Handles
Slogan Print Tote with Leather Handles

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Alejandra Espino
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Alejandra Espino

What are your favourite colours to print in (at the moment) and why?
I loved using the neon colours in the S/S 2012 collection. I like printing images in neon then overlaying that with a black print and washing it all out so the greys defuse the neon a bit.

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Mitika Chohan
Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Mitika Chohan
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Mitika Chohan

What can we expect for A/W 2012 from Simeon Farrar?
For S/S 2012 we had a ghost print that did very well, so I’ve built the next collection round that. So I guess it’s a Haunted House collection. We’ve got lots of ghost drawings, howling wolves, that kind of thing. But, there’s also a romantic side to it. I’ve always been interested in the tragic side of vampires and the sense of undying love that runs through it. So I’ve brought a lot of that in to the collection. And for the first time, NO KATE MOUSE. I didn’t want to cheapen her and put some fangs on her or something. Kate Mouse is dead, you heard it here first.

Cloud Print Tote Bag
Cloud Print Tote Bag

Simeon Farrar Spring/Summer 2012 by Gareth A Hopkins
Simeon Farrar S/S 2012 by Gareth A Hopkins

Simeon Farrar’s current S/S 2012 collection is available to buy in store and online at a variety of stockists, and his forthcoming A/W 2012 collection will be exhibited at Tranoi this March.

Categories ,Abi Hall, ,Alejandra Espino, ,Alia Gargum, ,Autumn/Winter 2012-13, ,british summer, ,canvas, ,Creativity, ,Dana Bocai, ,drawing, ,Fine Art, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Haunted House, ,illustration, ,Iroquois, ,Jason Lear, ,Kate Mouse, ,liberty, ,london, ,London Fashion Week, ,Madi Illustrates, ,Mitika Chohan, ,Neon, ,Net-A-Porter, ,Newgen, ,painting, ,paris, ,Romance, ,royalty, ,Save The Children, ,screen-printing, ,shoreditch, ,Simeon Farrar, ,Spring/Summer 2012, ,sydney, ,T-shirts, ,tokyo, ,Tranoi, ,University of Creative Arts Farnham, ,Vampires, ,You Are My Silver Lining

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