Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Bora Aksu

In the prelude to September’s London Fashion Week, website Amelia’s Magazine ran a series of interviews with designers and previews of designers to watch. One of these took the form of a conversation between Amelia and Bora Aksu, a designer whose progression we love to watch and have followed since his graduation from that increasingly famous St Martins MA.

The interview (a must read) discusses Bora Aksu’s involvement with People Tree and the designer’s personal attempts to incorporate ethically sourced material in the main collection.

As aforementioned, Bora’s shows are often magical and his Spring Summer 2011 collection was no exception, the designer signature material combinations were present on the dresses alongside the new additions of delicately tapered trousers.

Illustration by Gemma Randall

For S/S 11 Bora Aksu premiered his new collection as part of the always pleasing On|Off schedule (there are multiple schedules at London Fashion Week and after three seasons I am still getting my head around the numerous venues, times, places and dates!). Set in the basement of Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, Bora Aksu produced a series of eerily romantic garments in which all the looks were completed by inky black lines on cream hosiery.

Illustration by Gemma Randall

A whimsical affair, each dress elaborated the models physical features through the application of delicate ruffles. Carefully crafted materials mimicked that of an anatomically deconstructed corset. The adorned dresses drew attention to Bora Aksu’s craft drawing the viewers eyes towards every seam, hem and contrasting material.

The collection celebrated the experience of wearing material, from lace panels to the injection of silver jacquard in a pair of beautifully cut trousers. Compared to last season, S/S 2011 was a pared down collection, but as always the designer’s dress patterns intrigued the viewer’s eye.

The mainly muted collection contained moments of vivid saturation achieved by the addition of a beautiful deep red. As always Bora’s eye for collecting and studying discarded garments made this a very special collection and a lovely addition to London Fashion Week.

Illustration by Gemma Randall

Photographs by Sally Mumby-Croft

Categories ,Amelia Gregory, ,Amelia’s Magazine, ,BFC, ,Bora Aksu, ,british fashion council, ,LFW SS2011 SS 2011, ,London Fashion Week, ,Romantic

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week preview: an intimate interview with Bora Aksu

David Longshaw
For Spring Summer 2011, viagra 60mg David Longshaw says he was inspired by ‘chav dogs, cialis 40mg feathers and a ruffle or two and a story I wrote’. The tale apparently describes the outcome when some hoodies break into a stately home and end up dressing up in period clothing. I am waiting with baited breath to see the results! Don’t miss David’s upcoming round up of LFW exclusively for Amelia’s Magazine.

Eudon Choi

A/W 2010, photographed by Matt Bramford

Eudon Choi has been much talked-about over the six months that have passed since the last London Fashion Week. As well as being awarded Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s Merit Award, he was named as a winner of the BFC Elle Talent Launch Pad. His Merit Award collection has been greatly anticipated; expect industrial references, masculine tailoring and military embellishments, cutting an edgy yet sophisticated silhouette.

Bernard Chandran


A/W 2010, photographed by Matt Bramford

Malaysia’s Prince of Fashion, Bernard Chandran, continued to impress with his powerful, glimmering AW2010 collection. Glamour prevailed; power shoulders were paired with luxe beading, sequins, feathers and exposed backs, providing the ultimate in wearable opulence. Look out for Lady Gaga and Florence Welch queuing up for his fresh flamboyance.

Eley Kishimoto

A/W 2010, photographed by Matt Bramford

Eley Kishimoto never fail to impress with their unmistakable graphic prints. Expect another eclectic mix for SS11, with inspiration cited as “imitation, 3D on 2D and clothes drying on a rack”. After a notably scaled-down, pop-up shop presence last Fashion Week, it will be interesting to see what they show this time at Shoreditch Studios.

Ziad Ghanem

Ziad Ghanem couture, illustrated by Joana Faria

When Matt Bramford recently interviewed coutourier Ziad Ghanem for Amelia’s Magazine, he revealed that he has been making a film for his new collection. After February’s show-stopping runway performance from Immodesty Blaize, the oncreen unveiling of his latest collection is eagerly anticipated.
Bora Aksu studio. by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu in his studio. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

I’ve championed Bora Aksu since the very first issue of Amelia’s Magazine in print way back in 2004. The four times New Gen winner has come a long way since then…. As we head inexorably into the next manic edition of London Fashion Week the time has come to run an interview I did with the lovely Bora Aksu some months back, sales when he was kind enough to welcome me into his high ceilinged studio in West Ferry Studios, mind east London.

Zarina Liew bora aksu
Zarina Liew bora aksu
Zarina Liew bora aksu
Bora Aksu’s A/W 2010 collection by Zarina Liew.

Bora’s wonderful Autumn/Winter 2010 collection combined layers and flounces with corsetry and alienesque details. It was all about structure, approved layers and textures working together, but was it just me that saw the alien thing?
I suppose I was thinking about aliens when I designed the collection, but it was so subconscious that I didn’t even say anything to the team. I kept picturing things emerging from the body in a super natural way: other people have picked up on it since, but many have been more focused on the corsetry and 3D shapes. I love the way corsets create flattering shapes that compliment the body and I like muted colours because then they create more of a blank canvas so I can concentrate on line and texture. I suppose I like the colours in shadows, the in between colours that you can’t describe instantly – and then sometimes I like a splash of brighter colour. Luckily this all fits into the current trend for nudes. although I don’t deliberately follow trends. I like to think of it as mixing the sugary and the spiky, sort of Marie Antoinette meets Edward Scissorhands!

Bora Aksu by Faye West
Bora Aksu by Faye West.

How did you learn to work in this way?
You need to do the A-Z of design first so you know the whole process of pattern cutting and how to use fabrics, but being a good designer involves more than just technical training. The way you execute an idea is the most important part and this can’t be resolved with just paper and pencil – it needs a hands on approach. For example I like to do a lot of draping. In Turkey they have all the equipment but that’s not enough. The experimental mindset is lacking. I came to London 15 years ago to study, and even though I had no money I was surrounded by inspiration. You need to be able to make something beautiful out of nothing. That’s why in Turkey there is still the concept that to be successful you need to have designed abroad.

Bora Aksu bags
Bora Aksu shoes
Accessories hang in neat rows in Bora’s studio.

But isn’t it all changing in Turkey? There seems to be a bit of a buzz.
Turkey has a great cultural heritage and a strong factory supply base, but there was no fashion education to speak of when I came to study in the UK. However in the past ten years lots of universities have sprung up as fashion has become more popular as a career. Did you know there are now over 115 fashion weeks across the world? I love Istanbul but I don’t get back as often as I would like: I try to go for one month at a time between the February and September shows and I’ve done two seasons of Istanbul fashion week (including this year) but it’s not always possible to get away.

Bora Aksu by Maria del Carmen Smith-01
Bora Aksu by Maria del Carmen Smith.

What do your parents feel about your career in fashion?
Turkey is very family orientated and traditional: both my parents are doctors so I grew up breathing medical science. They were worried I wouldn’t be successful as an artist so my first degree was actually in business administration although I always knew I wanted to do ‘art and crafts’. Luckily I got accepted onto my second degree with only a sketch book to my name, but my marketing background bubbles up to the surface sometimes! But to give my parents full credit they were happy for me to follow my dream and stand by me which is an amazing feeling – to have not just their approval but their support. I have always been supported on my journey and my mother came to my first shows although she doesn’t like flying so she hasn’t been recently.

Bora Aksu collage
A mood board features one of Bora’s illustrations.

You famously attended the prestigious Central Saint Martins MA course. How did this shape you?
I spent a year working for Ghost because I didn’t want to go straight onto an MA, and I was massively influenced by their approach. Luckily it was a paid internship, which is rare to find now. It prepared me for the MA at Central Saint Martins, where it’s more like working for a company with strict deadlines. It is the Central Saint Martins ethos to breed creative beings whilst other colleges just think “let’s get our students a job in design” so most of time you are left to create designs on your own in a very free spirited way, which is a good platform to start from. You then have to present everything as a whole package in the best possible way so the students are really pushed and inevitably some people drop out because they can’t cope. My MA taught me that there are no rules in fashion and really gave me a chance to find my style.

Bora Aksu by Maria del Carmen Smith
Bora Aksu by Maria del Carmen Smith.

How did being in London influence your work?
In London so many different cultures are mixed together but somehow everything works in harmony, so you can be very free in your creativity. You see that especially in fashion: out of 10 students on my MA there were 7 different nationalities and I constantly meet people from other places: my wife Fella is from Mauritius. [she chatters away in Creole with his right hand man, who is also from Mauritius]. The Class of 2002 was pretty special: I graduated from my MA with Jens Laugesson, Jonathan Saunders, Miki Fugai and Richard Nichol.

Bora Aksu necklaces
Bora Aksu shoes 2
More stuff hanging up.

That’s pretty amazing! Are you in any way competitive with each other, or are you all good friends?
We’re not competitive because we’re all just busy doing our own thing and we all design so differently. People think of the coldness and isolation created by the fashion PR world, but it’s not like that on the creative side at all. There may only be a small market for consultancy but everyone has a place and we really help each other, for example we tell each other about good manufacturers to use and so on. I’ve also recently become friends with Mark Fast, who used to work on knitwear with me.

Bora Aksu by Maria del Carmen Smith
Bora Aksu by Maria del Carmen Smith.

Where does all this stuff in your studio come from?
I used to go to every single car boot fair in London, buying up old bags, army boots, old account books, handkerchiefs, laces, leather embossed bags… and I started to put things around me that I liked whilst designing a collection. I don’t think about whether the styles clash, I just go on my personal taste. I hang stuff up and take photos of it together whilst thinking about what to design.

Bora Aksu doll face
Bora Aksu manequinn
Bora Aksu doll
Mannequins around the studio sport collections of random objects.

What happens next?
I undo old garments so I can see the binding and hand finishing inside, which is often more beautiful than the outside. I’ve got boxes and boxes of stuff behind these walls – I try to get rid of stuff but I get emotionally attached to things and even if I only look at it once a year it’s comforting to know that it’s there. My mum is a collector so now she has an excuse to buy stuff too, because I might want it.

Bora Aksu dress by Joana Faria
Bora Aksu dress by Joana Faria.

How are you various collaborations going?
I’m still doing stuff with People Tree and will continue to do so, and I’m going to design a capsule collection for Anthropologie. It’s frustrating because the ethical thing should be more substantial and ongoing than it is. The western world has such a huge influence and every high street store should be more ethical; one t-shirt produced in Bangladesh has a huge knock on effect for whole families. But it’s no good producing undesirable garments because most teenagers don’t care where a garment is from, they just want fashionable clothing like celebrities wear. People Tree’s Safia Minney has a really good sense of what the customer wants, and we must concentrate on design.

Zarina Liew bora aksu PeopleTree
Bora Aksu’s People Tree collaboration by Zarina Liew.

How do you try to be ethical in the production of your own collections?
I source cotton from Turkey but I try to produce most of my clothes locally in the UK. Time is the main factor in producing ethical clothing – it takes much longer to design because of the limitations so you need to plan in advance. I also try to look for companies that are disappearing because there is no demand for their products. I’ve just been to the EcoChic show in Geneva where I found an ethical fish leather available in any colour, produced by some Brasilian fishermen. I use recycled latex. I’m not against leather but I don’t think its necessary to use fur – it may be nice to the touch but it’s not attractive and technology is so advanced we can surely make something else that’s similar.

Bora Aksu fabric metallic
Bora Aksu fabric
Close ups of the wonderful fabrics used in the A/W 2010 collection.

How do you find London Fashion Week these days?
I’m not sure the high turnover of new designers is such a good thing – it doesn’t happen in Paris or Milan. But then we don’t have big fashion houses and we’re known as a new talent hub. Maybe we need to emphasise that more, but all new designers also need to stand on their own two feet so they get a good buyer base: so many designers aren’t ready to deal with the whole business side of fashion.

What about working with Blow PR? You’ve had a close relationship for a long time haven’t you?
I’ve been looked after by them for over six years now and I love working with Blow PR – it’s become more of a friendship. My last collection was well received in the press and orders have been good.

Bora Aksu knit
Bora Aksu ruffles
More fabulous Bora fabrics.

And to finish on a cheeky note, you and Fella obviously work together very well. How did you get together?
We were flatmates and good friends first! She’s been my studio manager for five years and we used to live in the studio here but it all got a bit much so we now live in Angel, Islington, which means we can leave work behind. My friends have started to have kids, but it looks like hard work… I like to take the laid back approach – when you plan too much it usually doesn’t work because there’s a gap between imagination and what might happen. I always believe you should follow arrows, not push at doors.

Bora Aksu illustration
Bora Aksu illustration
Bora Aksu illustrations on the walls of his studio.

Before I leave Bora gives me a guided tour of his studio, where I have ample opportunity to feel his clothing up and marvel at some of his wonderful illustrations that adorn any gaps in the wall. Tomorrow Bora shows his S/S 2011 collection on the first day of London Fashion Week. There’s no doubting it will be every bit as magical as the last one was: he is one very special man.

Categories ,Anthropologie, ,Bora Aksu, ,EcoChic, ,Faye West, ,Joana Faria, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Maria del Carmen Smith, ,New Gen, ,People Tree, ,Safia Minney, ,Zarina Liew

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Bora Aksu (more)


Illustration by Andrea Peterson

It wasn’t until the Jena.Theo show that I got my first hit of fashion adrenaline this LFW. The design duo Jenny Holmes and Dimitris Theocharidis have created a Spring Summer 2011 collection that combines both the theatrical and the wearable in draped layers of silk and jersey, treat side effects shot through with the Midas Touch. Gold leaf was applied not only to models’ eyelids and nails, view but also to wrists, ankles, collarbones and occasionally a breast or belly button that happened to be exposed.

Though this would undoubtedly not go down well in the Muslim world today, culturally the show was a mix of the old Arabian Nights- or Prince of Persia to the computer game generation- meets 19th century British colonialism; models’ heads swathed in oversized turbans or hair backcombed into huge Victorian updos.


Illustration by Andrea Peterson

The winners of Fashion Fringe 2009 struck a perfect balance between catwalk creativity and clothes with the potential to actually be worn in real life; with a wonderful take on a Victorian hoop skirt to finish the show. This is what I want from an LFW show; something fun and inventive as well as wearable clothes.

I sat with the team behind the new Young British Designers website, which champions the likes of Jena.Theo; keep an eye out on Amelia’s for an interview with them coming soon. Adriana was in fact loyally wearing an outfit by the design duo.

We were in the second row but got bumped forward into the front row when there were a few spaces at the last minute; which meant I managed to get a really good, close up look at the raw painted gold leaf stiletto platform shoes.

It also of course, meant goody bag ahoy!Ironically, for a fashion gift, this included one of the best brownies I’ve ever eaten; in fact many of the stalls in the LFW exhibitions have sweets or cakes on their stands, though you never see anyone eating them. Except me.Which is why you won’t see me bearing my gilded navel in an Aladdin-esque ensemble anytime soon.


Illustration by Andrea Peterson

London Fashion Week has begun (NB: at the time of writing, order it was the end of the second day) and apart from the excitement at spotting various London boutique owners, try mild celebrities and the increasing chances of seeing a model stumble from the heady heights of unstable shoes, information pills the week is of course about FASHION. From the stalwarts of Simon Rocha and Betty Jackson to the increasing number of designers who are the”ones to watch,” it is a to put it mildly a frantic dash from venue to queue to venue to queue and back to the BFC for a quick cuppa before starting all over again. An incredibly enjoyable dash, but a dash none the less.

On Friday (17th September 2010) Amelia’s Magazine had the pleasure of touching base with Eun Jeong’s S/S 11 static presentation in the alcoves of the Russell Chambers, Covent Garden. The designers studio presentation was set amid the odd jumble of relics frequently obtained during the industrious weeks leading up to LFW. Exceptionally pretty models were positioned around the fringes of the room and the press pack moved in hapazadly through the three rooms of the exhibition documenting the clothes positioned on mannikins and on seated or standing models.

One room consisted entirely of props painted white, which rather effectively set off the crystal-embellished shoes, whilst drawing attention to Eon Jeung’s attention to draping. From looking at the shoes, the inspiration for the sewing basket may have come from Jeong’s shoe designs, rather than the other way round. The middle room consisted of a beautiful floral pattern that was reminiscent of Future Classics in cut.

The final room was occupied solely by mannikins dressed in an assortment of designs including a beautifully simple dress embellished with a touch of bright colour on the shoulders. Quickly reflecting on the first two days of the designers this reviewer has seen at the September 2010 edition of London Fashion Week. Many appear to be playing it safe and producing clothes fit for the boutique market.

Looking at the standard of Eon Jeung’s designs for S/S 2011, it is hard to believe that this is the designer’s third season since graduating from THAT Central Saint Martin’s MA.

The organised chaos of London Fashion Week has begun (NB: at the time of writing, approved it was the end of the second day) and apart from the excitement at spotting various London boutique owners, online mild celebrities and the increasing chances of seeing a model stumble from the heady heights of unstable shoes, web the week is of course about FASHION. From the stalwarts of Simon Rocha and Betty Jackson to the increasing number of designers who are the”ones to watch,” it is a to put it mildly a frantic dash from venue to queue to venue to queue and back to the BFC for a quick cuppa before starting all over again. An incredibly enjoyable dash, but a dash none the less.

On Friday (17th September 2010) Amelia’s Magazine had the pleasure of touching base with Eun Jeong’s S/S 11 static presentation in the alcoves of the Russell Chambers, Covent Garden. The designers studio presentation was set amid the odd jumble of relics frequently obtained during the industrious weeks leading up to LFW. Exceptionally pretty models were positioned around the fringes of the room and the press pack moved in hapazadly through the three rooms of the exhibition documenting the clothes positioned on mannikins and on seated or standing models.

One room consisted entirely of props painted white, which rather effectively set off the crystal-embellished shoes, whilst drawing attention to Eon Jeung’s attention to draping. From looking at the shoes, the inspiration for the sewing basket may have come from Jeong’s shoe designs, rather than the other way round. The middle room consisted of a beautiful floral pattern that was reminiscent of Future Classics in cut.

The final room was occupied solely by mannikins dressed in an assortment of designs including a beautifully simple dress embellished with a touch of bright colour on the shoulders. Quickly reflecting on the first two days of the designers this reviewer has seen at the September 2010 edition of London Fashion Week. Many appear to be playing it safe and producing clothes fit for the boutique market.

Looking at the standard of Eon Jeung’s designs for S/S 2011, it is hard to believe that this is the designer’s third season since graduating from THAT Central Saint Martin’s MA.

The organised chaos of London Fashion Week has begun (NB: at the time of writing, advice it was the end of the second day) and apart from the excitement at spotting various London boutique owners, pills mild celebrities and the increasing chances of seeing a model stumble from the heady heights of unstable shoes, the week is of course about FASHION.

From the stalwarts of Simon Rocha and Betty Jackson to the increasing number of designers who are the”ones to watch,” it is a to put it mildly a frantic dash from venue to queue to venue to queue and back to the BFC for a quick cuppa before starting all over again. An incredibly enjoyable dash, but a dash none the less.

On Friday (17th September 2010) Amelia’s Magazine had the pleasure of touching base with Eun Jeong’s S/S 11 static presentation in the alcoves of the Russell Chambers, Covent Garden. The designers studio presentation was set amid the odd jumble of relics frequently obtained during the industrious weeks leading up to LFW.

Exceptionally pretty models were positioned around the fringes of the room and the press pack moved in hapazadly through the three rooms of the exhibition documenting the clothes positioned on mannikins and on seated or standing models.

One room consisted entirely of props painted white, which rather effectively set off the crystal-embellished shoes, whilst drawing attention to Eon Jeung’s attention to draping. From looking at the shoes, the inspiration for the sewing basket may have come from Jeong’s shoe designs, rather than the other way round. The middle room consisted of a beautiful floral pattern that was reminiscent of Future Classics in cut.

The final room was occupied solely by mannikins dressed in an assortment of designs including a beautifully simple dress embellished with intricate black beading across the breadth of the dress. Looking at the standard of Eon Jeung’s designs for S/S 2011, it is hard to believe that this is the designer’s third season since graduating from THAT Central Saint Martin’s MA.

Quickly reflecting on the first two days of the designers this reviewer has seen at the September 2010 edition of London Fashion Week. Many appear to be playing it safe and producing clothes fit for the boutique market.

naomi-law-bora-aksu
Bora Aksu by Naomi Law.

Oh how I do love a bit of Bora Aksu. As well as being a one of a kind creative genius he is surely the nicest man in fashion – as you will know if you’ve read my pre LFW interview. I attended his show at Victoria House with Sally yesterday, sildenafil and she has also written up her review of it here.

Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

It was a far more intimate venue than last season’s show in the BFC tent, about it which meant that I got a brilliant view of Bora’s extraordinary artistry up close. Merely a hands reach away the models strode past in bulging loose bun beehives accessorised with giant ants (the loosely backcombed up-do is becoming a bit of a theme this fashion week) and tangled spiders web lacy tights.

Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
naomi-law-bora-aksu-1
Bora Aksu by Naomi Law.

This season the palette took a darker turn, consisting of steely greys, navy and a gorgeous deep red. Taking his alienesque styling of last season to its next *logical* step, the protrusions seemed to curl ever further out of dresses, or perhaps it was just my new proximity which made it seem so. For more commercial effect ruffles, brocade and lace also made an appearance in creative mashups.

Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

After the show I was hastily approached by Blow PR to see if one of my photos could be whisked off to the newspapers – something to do with an urgent request for “harem pants” – so I spent the next half an hour in the frantic press room, where I managed to say hello to Bora as he was giving interviews in the corner. He was utterly delightful of course: as I said, the nicest man in fashion. And as innovative as ever.

Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

Categories ,Alienesque, ,Blow PR, ,Bora Aksu, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Naomi Law, ,onoff, ,Sally Mumby-Croft, ,Victoria House

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Bora Aksu

Bora Aksu S/S 2012 by Gareth A Hopkins
Bora Aksu S/S 2012 by Gareth A Hopkins.

Nicola Roberts was once more amongst the attendees for The Unknown, online which promised an entire narrative within the collection. Ever the romantic, tadalafil Bora Aksu discovered four old postcards in a Geneva antiques market. Initially attracted to the beautiful Edwardian imagery, it was to be the words written on the back that would inspire him the most. Written by a young lady named Rose, the postcards disclosed her love for Charles… and left Bora wondering what happened to this great romance of over one hundred years ago. And thus he embarked on The Unknown.

Bora Aksu S/S 2012 by Karla Pérez (Geiko Louve)Bora Aksu S/S 2012 by Karla Pérez (Geiko Louve)
Bora Aksu S/S 2012 by Karla Pérez aka Geiko Louve.

Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu S/S 2012 by Gareth A Hopkins
Bora Aksu S/S 2012 by Gareth A Hopkins.

Lighting low, the show began with a group of models who emerged en masse at the head of the runway, each dressed head to toe in shades of cream and beige with their heads wrapped in flowery garlands. Before them the catwalk (with no riser this season) was strewn with autumnal petals. Short puff skirts paired with crisp sleeveless blouses gave way to columns of tulle and net, all with signature Bora Aksu detailing. The demure colouring left me with the impression of an Edwardian schoolgirl who had been caught in her undies, but amongst this were some very wearable separates that should sell well in the real world.

Bora Aksu S/S 2012 by Megan Thomas
Bora Aksu S/S 2012 by Megan Thomas.

With a splash of sea blue roped detailing the collection moved onto sophisticated blacks and navy blues. Sweeping dresses with ribbon seam details emphasised womanly curves and curved necklines riffed on the current mania for all things pan collared. Sheer fabrics gave a glimpse of nipple, a common theme of this fashion week.

Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu SS 2011 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu S/S 2012 by June Chanpoomidole
Bora Aksu S/S 2012 by June Chanpoomidole.

I prefer my Bora with a bit more colour and structure, but this was an elegant collection that showed off Bora Aksu‘s love of all things Edwardian. It was also an excellent showcase for his new venture into the realm of hosiery. In the goodie bags were a pair of very special Bora Aksu branded tights, the rolling fishnet emulating the curved seams of his clothes: a perfect way to own a piece of Bora for a fraction of the cost of a whole outfit. Over the next few days I spotted many a pair of Bora clad legs on the front row, so it looks like he’s onto a winner.

Categories ,Antique, ,Beige, ,BFC, ,Bora Aksu, ,Charles, ,Cream, ,Edwardian, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Geiko Louve, ,Geneva, ,Hosiery, ,June Chanpoomidole, ,June Sees, ,Karla Perez, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Megan Thomas, ,Nicola Roberts, ,Nipples, ,Pan Collars, ,postcards, ,Romantic, ,Rose, ,S/S 2012, ,Sheer, ,Somerset House, ,The Unknown, ,tights

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Christian Blanken

Christian Blanken SS12 by Gareth A Hopkins

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Gareth A Hopkins

This presentation in particular was enjoyable from the start. Away from the rush and fuss of the main tent, pharmacy I went to explore the bright and beautiful Portico Rooms of Somerset House to find the Christian Blanken show. As I lined up, I got a peek at the other designer exhibitions and took in the quiet calm of the wooden floors and neo-classical architecture.

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Rosa and Carlotta

All photography by Rosa & Carlotta Crepax of Illustrated Moodboard

I was ushered inside a room set up with some impressive-looking mirrored panels, I took a seat and got my sketchbook and pens ready for what Mr Blanken had to show us. As the lights slightly dimmed and the music began to start I got my third compliment of the day on my Bora Aksu patterned ‘Angel’ tights which were a front-row goody bag gift and have left me wanting more from his new hosiery and accessory range.

Christian Blanken SS 2012 by Gilly Rochester

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Gilly Rochester

Christian Blanken has a very clean and cool vision for Spring/Summer 2012, defined by shades of grey, mink, and black and occasional shots of soft coral. He really developed his sharp and luxe look with an artful use of heavy ruching and sportswear-like silhouettes.

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 illustrated by Kate Eldridge

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Kate Eldridge

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Rosa and Carlotta
Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Rosa and Carlotta
It was all undoubtedly feminine, but not as you’d recognise it. Ruching? Sparkle? Soft silks and pale colours? Sweet, but not in the hands of Christian Blanken. I have never been a big fan of sweet, and like Christian count strong-silhouette designers like Azzedine Alaia and Helmut Lang as two of my favourites, but would most definitely embrace this wearable version of it for S/S 2012.

Christian-Blanken S/S 2012 illustrated by Alia Gargum

Christian-Blanken S/S 2012 by Alia Gargum

Inspired by the new Swarovski Elements ceramics collection, stingrays (which worked beautifully in print), bonded textiles and leathers, this collection is for those that appreciate tailoring, detail, and good fabrics. Christian sourced materials from Italy to get the best he could while following his aim of creating the ideal modern wardrobe without an impossible price range.

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 illustrated by Ada Jusic

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 illustrated by Ada Jusic

The show itself was even relaxing to draw; the clean lines, slicked-back hair and sharp tailoring flowed easily along the page. Even the latecomers that kept walking into the show space and were momentarily reflected in the cleverly designed set along with the models didn’t disrupt the calm.

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Rosa & Carlotta Crepax
As the show ended and I left the room, I felt curious to see what this Dutch-born designer comes up with next. Anyone who can make ruching and sparkle also behave in such a strong and structured way deserves attention, which he seemed to be in for as I strolled past the long line already patiently waiting for the next show.

Categories ,Ada Jusic, ,Alia Gargum, ,Azzedine Alaia, ,Bora Aksu, ,Christian Blanken, ,Clean Lines, ,Coral, ,Feminine, ,Front Row, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gilly Rochester, ,Goddy Bag, ,Helmut Lang, ,Hoisery, ,Illustrated Moodboard, ,Kate Eldridge, ,London Fashion Week, ,Rosa & Carlotta Crepax, ,Set Design, ,Sparkle, ,Sportwear, ,Spring/Summer 2012, ,Swarovski, ,Sweet

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Mark Fast

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Marcus Reed
Mark Fast S/S 2012 by Marcus Reed

Mark Fast is a designer that sticks in peoples minds for a multitude of reasons. For some it’s his way of turning knitwear into an art form, viagra for others it’s how he creates some of the most recognisable figure-hugging yet conceptual dresses out there or his revolutionary steps in technique. Amelia herself is a massive knitwear fan, and raved about his work with merino wool in her review of Mark Fast‘s A/W 2011 collection at London Fashion Week. For me, it all started when I met a very funny and gently spoken fashion student who was creating knitwear for womenswear designer Bora Aksu back in 2006.

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by CharlotteHoyle
Mark Fast S/S 2012 by Charlotte Hoyle

Since then, Mark has rocked some headlines with his catwalk shows; causing a fashion stir for his use of plus-sized and curvier models such as Crystal Renn and Hayley Morley consistently each season (his first use of plus-sized models allegedly causing members of his team to walk out). At the time, I remember a sudden explosion of people talking about Fast, even friends who never ‘got’ fashion week before knew his name. There are countless designers who create figure-hugging sartorial magic on the catwalk, but a distance is created when you realise that normal women come in all different shapes and sizes, which stops me from seeing a fantastically chic friend or myself in the clothes. I can always appreciate the raw beauty and skill involved in a good catwalk show, as you’d admire a work of art; but don’t always see it as something accessible for this reason. Mark blew all of this out of the water by proving that his knitted dresses could also hug the curve of real hips and flatter the roundness of a fuller bust.

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia GregoryMark Fast Spring/Summer by Amelia Gregory
Mark Fast S/S 2012, all photography by Amelia Gregory

I lined up for the show with endless other fashion editors and buyers for what looked like was going to be a very packed event. Fashion editor and style magpie Anna Dello Russo fluttered by in a shimmer of current season Prada oversized paillette dress and snakeskin boots, which have an incredible curved heel to them, catching my eye despite of my aversion to real snakeskin. Model Liberty Ross, Tallulah Harlech (daughter of modelling legend Lady Amanda Harlech) and modelling pop songstress Eliza Doolittle were in the front row, with Eliza catching a lot of attention from the paparazzi in a very short (presumably Mark Fast) black dress. I had to smile when she pretended to ignore them but continued posing as she caught up with a friend.

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Kristina Vasiljeva
Mark Fast S/S 2012 by Kristina Vasiljeva

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia GregoryMark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia Gregory

As I was shown to my seat, there were a lot of people running around including a production or show manager yelling ‘showing in 5 MINUTES!’ in my ear as I scurried past. There definitely was something in the air before this show, a palpable heated excitement radiating from every person in the presentation space. Suddenly, the press release I was reading through seemed incredibly apt. The collection was inspired by ‘desert mirages and tropical exoticism’ with colours taken from a desert landscape and the movement of a sandstorm providing a starting point for the clothes. I began to feel hotter, as if all the anticipation had brought the desert heat into the show, making me forget all about the blustery autumn weather outside. I was then asked to shuffle over to make room for a lady who turned out to be a very nice Condé Nast street style photographer. She spotted my pens and sketchbook, poised for drawing, and chatted to me about how enchanting it is to watch Vogue creative director extraordinaire Grace Coddington (who I loved in The September Issue) sketch live at catwalk shows. As we talked illustration and photography, the lights began to dim and a sultry summer track mixed with electro beats began to play.

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia GregoryMark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia Gregory

Orange-tinged lights especially set up for this show around the catwalk began to shine and fade in time with the sharp metallic-sounding music, and then settled to glow intermittently as the first model made her way onto the catwalk. An off the shoulder knitted top and skirt in the lightest possible shade of sand with equally light detailing and undone strands that trailed along the arms of the model as she moved made it out along the catwalk. The photographer next to me sighed a little breath of relief and delight along with most of the room. The pale gold colours made me reminisce over the sunlight you get in the summer, while the 1920s finger-waved and bobbed hair gave the clothes a bit of vintage glamour. The shoes, thanks to Mr Christian Louboutin, brought the look back around to the modern day. T-bar wedges and heels with incredibly huge platforms in gold, pink, black and orange to match the clothes also had little details like spiked studs and rubber straps, which reminded me of jelly shoes.

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia GregoryMark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia Gregory

More dresses in the same colours but with a variety of shapes you would normally associate with formal wear such as a fishtail gown (which the model almost fell over in) and a practically see-through floor-length number came along. Cleverly re-worked in a luxe version of macramé-style knotting, the silhouettes held their structure but had a light, summery softness to them. Sheer finer-knit dresses were placed over golden knitted bikinis, subtly showing off their delicate intricacy.

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia GregoryMark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia Gregory

Although the audience was already clearly wowed by the pale gold creations, several pieces came out that made me hold my breath in amazement. The first was a dress with a structured top and then a signature Mark Fast bottom half completely made out of golden loose strands, which moved like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life. Movement on this scale is hard enough to capture in a garment, let alone getting it to a point where it’s flattering. But the weight and lengths of the string-like strands moved perfectly in harmony with the model, never losing her shape but seemingly dancing around her. It was like Mark had actually gone out and captured a little sandstorm of gold, and then attached it to a dress in the most flattering way possible. The model and the others that followed her with similar garments couldn’t help having a little something extra in the way they walked. I began to fantasize about how it must feel to wear something quite so incredible, and luckily was snapped out of it by what came next.

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia GregoryMark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia GregoryMark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia Gregory

After some acid-yellow and Lucozade-orange dresses with a similar lightness but no less ‘feminine with an edge’ fabulousness, I got a shock that made me want to elbow the photographer next to me in eagerness (luckily I held back, realising that almost knocking the poor girl off the bench in a rush of excitement wouldn’t be the best thing to do).

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 illustrated by Gareth A Hopkins
Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 illustrated by Gareth A Hopkins
Mark Fast S/S 2012 by Gareth A Hopkins

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia GregoryMark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia GregoryMark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia Gregory

At first, I thought I was imagining it, but then I remembered the painterly pattern on my show invite and realised that I was indeed seeing the first bit of print in a Mark Fast show. Printed on neoprene, that wetsuit fabric that fashion houses have been using for a while and love for summer, the pattern circled necklines, sleeves and hemlines, gradually fading out. It was completely unexpected and I love the way Mark just gave print a little try, modestly put it on a few dresses but was obviously proud enough to use it for the invitation.

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Marcus Reed
Mark Fast S/S 2012 by Marcus Reed

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia GregoryMark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia GregoryMark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia Gregory

All in all, the show was very relaxed, sultry, modern and seductive while sporadically a little bit younger than before with the cute baby doll type dresses alongside the dramatic-but-comfortable grown-up gowns. There were some black dresses and two-pieces expertly styled with Linda Farrow sunglasses and jewellery from both Pebble and Renee Lindell (stacks of thick bangles looked perfect for summer) as was the rest of the collection. Quite a few garments were like summer versions of his previous winter collections made from heavier wool. It was almost like someone said ‘well I bet that body-con knitted dress business wouldn’t work in summer’ and Mark replied ‘oh yeah?’ by finding an entirely new and light-as-air way of knitting.

Mark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia GregoryMark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia GregoryMark Fast Spring/Summer 2012 by Amelia Gregory

On the way out of the show, the cynic in me thought that were was actually a lot of repetition from previous seasons in the necklines, silhouettes and structured knits. However as hot-footed it to another show, I thought about why I expected there to be something so completely different this time around. I admittedly had high expectations of the show, but it was such a standout collection, and little details like structure and shape created by embroidering shimmering petals of sequins into the knitwear didn’t disappoint. I suddenly thought, what is so wrong with sticking with what you’re good at? Mark has now built up a signature style where so much can be developed from, why should he change drastically each season? The promise of prints and ever-developing strides in knitwear are keeping me interested, and if Mark continues to keep his fans I can see his brand following in the steps of Azzedine Alaïa, who practically invented sexy dressing with a twist through his figure-hugging cut-out womenswear in the 1980s and is still going strong. I was genuinely surprised by what this clever designer delivered, and no doubt will be panting in anticipation for the next season with everyone else.


Play the video and watch the show.

Categories ,Alia Gargum, ,Amelia Gregory, ,Anna Dello Russo, ,Azzedine Alaia, ,BFC, ,Bora Aksu, ,catwalk, ,Charlotte Hoyle, ,Condé Nast, ,Crystal Renn, ,Eliza Doolittle, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Grace Coddington, ,Hayley Morley, ,knitwear, ,Kristina Vasiljeva, ,Liberty Ross, ,London Fashion Week, ,Marcus Reed, ,Mark Fast, ,print, ,S/S 2012, ,Somerset House, ,Spring/Summer 2012, ,Tallulah Harlech, ,The September Issue, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Bora Aksu (by Amelia)

W 2011-W 2011-IMG_4205
LFW2_FlorianJayet_by_AlisonDay

LFW A/W 2011, mind Florian Jayet. Illustration by Alison Day

I spent London Fashion Week staying at my parent’s house. My childhood home with a new kitchen, approved dog ‘brother’, purchase central heating that works and a bath. I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed having my porridge made in the morning. Maple syrup on the side, and a herbal tea, packed lunch filled with snacks. That’s right, I lapped it up. Although Charlie is an excellent boy/man, there is nothing quite like the mother. However they live a few miles outside of Brighton, in a village. Thus the trek to London, the long days and write ups – intense. All because I LOVE it. Love words, fashion, and obviously, this mighty magazine. Yet I deliberated with coming to London for one show on Sunday. Day of rest day normally means Roast dinner. But I have in my mind, ‘NO HELS! SAY NOT TO NOTHING!’ at all times. I’m following my writing dream after all. This causes me great pleasures and enormous pains. So, of course, one show or not, I was on that train to London Victoria. And am I glad I made the effort for Fashion Mode?

Yes. Three shows in one; three excellent shows. I’m going to split Fashion Mode into three posts, because each designer deserves the love. So we will start with Floriet Jayet.

LFW3_FlorianJayet_by_AlisonDay

Illustration by LFW A/W 2011, Florian Jayet.Alison Day

Initially I was slightly terrified and in awe of the models coming out. Nothing different to every show you might say. But, this was different, because the models had metal contraptions of their heads that made them look like a cross between special aliens and orthodontic patients. Four strips of silver metal came over their heads from the back, to touch their faces, with an enormous roller at the back. After my initial fear, I decided that they looked cool, as inevitably happens at LFW. See: ‘Urg… ahhh.. yah, I totally get that now. I want one.’ Although I’m not sure I would wear one of these creations, I would certainly consider wearing the dresses, which the metal complimented perfectly. Wiggle space lady, that’s what you are. With lasers from your eyes and hips.

Florian Jayet is a graduate in Biology which explains his science appreciative designs. The dresses featured strong shoulders, midi length skirts and padded fabrics. The shape of the woman has been celebrated and appreciated as if it is meant to be seen and not covered – raw biology. The models reminded me of those in Huxley’s; Brave New World. Perfect, angular and although feminine, minus the romanticism and emotional sentimentality, that are sometimes conjured by designs. In a sense Jayet‘s pieces are actually a mix of previous, and our vision of future, ideologies. The restricted, but beautiful shapes of the 20s, 30s and 40s appear to have been fused with modern and excessive details; i.e. the shoulders. The contemporary complimenting the past, and particularly with reference to French houses; Chanel and Dior. This makes for a very sophisticated and composed look. It made me want to look closer, at every detail, and know more. As opposed to held within the ruffles, the corset and the red heels, everything seemed so wrapped up, with the story inside. It was whimsical in its own way, and also impenetrable. These outfits are those that I would hope to find in the corner of a cafe in Paris, smoking, mysterious, alone – with a steely, but far away look.

I adored the padding details and the shrug wraps. Space lady, dressed for dinner. The long dresses had a Japanese feel to them, geisha like and graceful. Florian Jayet said that the focus for him, is to create; ‘a fetish wardrobe, pieces that a woman can keep forever, bringing them out on special occasions when she needs to be propelled into confidence and strength.’ It’s fair to say that you would feel empowered wearing Jayet’s pieces. The creams and blacks, shoulders, padding and midi length skirts would have me stomping and demanding like a glossy magazine Editor with somewhere to be. However at the moment it’s more probable I would be the space lady in the cafe, with a triple americano (having no affect), internally reliving or hoping for something. With an unreadable face, it’s unclear as to what scene could be playing in the mind of this space femme, but in a way it’s romantic.

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Danielle Shepherd
Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Danielle Shepherd.

Bora Aksu is one of the most unassuming and down to earth men I’ve ever met, and let alone in the land of fashion – which is why it is so bizarre that his shows attract such a high level of celebrity interest – I can’t for one moment imagine that he courts it himself…

Twiggy at Bora Aksu. Amelia Gregory
Twiggy at Bora Aksu. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

It was only after I’d planted myself down in the front row that I realised I was in the thick of a celebrity pap fest. Twiggy was busy giving vox pops to my left and Marina of Marina and the Diamonds fame came stomping past inches from my nose in a bid to find a spare patch of front row action. I kept my head down, stomach so it was only after the show that I realised I’d been sitting only a few bodies down from ex Sugababes’ star Keisha Buchanan, information pills as she stood for an awkward and heavily photographed air kiss reunion with Girls Aloud’s current fashion darling Nicola Roberts, whose incredible thinness was enhanced by the halo of flashes going off behind her. I could hardly leave the venue for the ensuing scrum. Memo to self: try to avoid sitting in the thick of celeb land next time.

Marina by Artist Andrea
Marina in an amazing mice encrusted jumper by Andrea Peterson.

Last season Bora took a step away from the Somerset House action to show at the considerably smaller venue at Victoria House, and in reflection of this step down his collection seemed slightly lacking in confidence. But for A/W 2011 he was back in the big tent, and proving once more that he is at the height of his powers.

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Donya Todd
Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Donya Todd.

Gun metal grey is a favourite Bora colour, and the collection flew off the starting blocks as it meant to continue, with a gorgeous bustle-backed party frock in metallic fabric and wool, highlighted by a slash of emerald green at the waist and in the underskirt – a colour that was to take second place only to his beloved grey this season.

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Alia Gargum
Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Alia Gargum.

Bora staples: lace, sheer chiffon, cable knit and corsetry lacing were all present and correct, bound and wound around the models in cunning arrangements. Playful inspiration was found in the form of tuxedos and bow ties, Bora playing with proportion, placement and trompe l’oeil effects.

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

As usual some of the dresses called to mind a suit of armour, contouring the female form. As the collection progressed the models’ delicate features became evermore bound in black gauze before they grouped in formation to take their final turn on the catwalk – a trend that was to be repeated throughout the week at various shows.

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Bora Aksu has an extraordinarily clear vision that keeps getting stronger and stronger: feminine without being too girly, clever without being unwearable, recognisable without being samey and continuously innovative. He is without doubt one of the most individual and idiosyncratic designers working in the UK today. Roll on S/S 2012.

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

You can read Georgia Takacs’ review here and Jemma Crow’s review here. Or you can check in with my intimate interview, posted last September. We’re big fans, what can I say?

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Categories ,Alia Gargum, ,Andrea Peterson, ,Bora Aksu, ,Bow Tie, ,Danielle Shepherd, ,Donya Todd, ,Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, ,girls aloud, ,Keisha Buchanan, ,Marina and The Diamonds, ,Nicola Roberts, ,Sugababes, ,Sweeny Todd, ,trompe l’oeil, ,Tuxedo, ,twiggy

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Bora Aksu (by Georgia)


Illustration by Gilly Rochester

It was Day 1 at Somerset House and I was surrounded by all those fashion bigwigs at Caroline Charles; sure to have just flown in first-class from the closing New York Fashion Week and before that whichever glamorous corner of the Earth they resided. The BFC Catwalk space, page therefore, kicked off with a sure-fire reminder of where we were; London. Just in case anyone forgot.


Illustration by Maria Papadimitriou

??It was all about the classic, home-comfort elements of good-old British style. You had your checks, your lace, your chiffon, your wool winter coats that your mother forced you in when you were young and now just can’t get out of.??

Most garments were intrinsically minimalistic. There was very little print. The fabric palette didn’t stretch too far and no real attempt towards a-symmetric cuts or daring features was made. Despite such profuse amounts of plain-Jane style, however, a subtle sexiness arose from those full-sequined dresses in bright red and sultry black as well as the odd combination of tiger and leopard print. It was bad taste turned classy.??


Illustration by Gilly Rochester

The collection’s silhouette held a strong focus on the waist with delicate belts cinching-in wool shift dresses and chiffon floaty creations. There was a barely a bold moment throughout the entire show but one thing was for sure: everything had style.
Furthermore (as has been featured countless times this season), bows were a primary focus for Charles. She placed them on bowler hats, made them out of black ribbon tied around the neck and pulled them round to the rear of high-waisted trousers.


Illustrations by Maria Papadimitriou

Some of the combinations of textures, however, were a little iffy for me. Black leather pencil skirts with brown lady-like jackets? It just didn’t click. I also wasn’t keen on the injection of equestrian riding hats and low pony-tails. It was oh-so-boring and that kind of look, for me anyway, completely lacks any sort of style or attitude. Perhaps a ploy made my yet-another designer to turn the head of Kate Middleton as the Royal Wedding approaches? Maybe so.


Photographs by Georgia Takacs

Amidst the elegant and some-what calming classical music, however, I was agitated by lady-with-hideous-hat who was inconveniently featured in most of my photographs. There was a bit of a frenzy around her and THE HAT after the show. I couldn’t begin to understand why and marched past indifferent and utterly confused.??

All in all, a largely predictable and collection from a classic London dress-maker. It’s endearing, however, to see a leading designer of 47 years to continue delivering a fail-safe iconic style which will forever be appreciated. And with so much sophisticated femininity around this Autumn/Winter season, it certainly set the scene for what was to come and offers a solid reference to anyone embracing ‘The Woman’ next season.

Illustration by Sandra Contreras

Jena.Theo, more about made up of Jenny Holmes and Dimitris Theocharidis, more about who met at the London College of Fashion, approved clearly want to be rock-chic at heart, and the show was like a highly anticipated gig with fashion editors literally fighting for seats (I’m not kidding it was crazy). So a bit of a manic start then!


Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

The models sashayed down the catwalk whilst the clothes beautifully draped and flowed behind them and nothing was structured; it was very much a free-loving collection. A possible clanger came from the denim bubble coat (not as horrific as it sounds but still bad) and the look was slightly undone; maybe even unfinished but then maybe that’s what was intended.

The venue itself was pretty hardcore for 11am too with flashing coloured lasers spraying from the ceiling and a giant board lit up behind the models leaving us in no doubt as to what show we were at. They might as well have told us to get our rave on whilst referencing Valkyrie as the collection was aptly known.


Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

Something always gets me though at these shows and it’s when the designers decide that ‘normal’ make up isn’t enough for their show, they need something a little kooky. Jena Theo decided that each model needed a black ‘Michael Stipe’ esque stripe across their eyes and to me it just wasn’t needed. Not that it particularly distracted from the clothes but it didn’t necessarily add anything either.


Illustration by Sandra Contreras

I’ll give them their due, after all it is their first on-schedule show this year but maybe next year the theatrical make up needs to be left out. Surely there’s enough of that in fashion!

You can saw more of Gareth A Hopkins’ illustrations in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.


Illustration by Jenny Robins

So I’m a big fan of Bora Aksu. He’s one of those London Fashion Week underdogs that just has that extra WOW-factor and his show always seems to be the hot ticket on Day One. And with Twiggy and Marina (of The Diamonds) in the front row, price I don’t think I was the only one with high expectations!??The show was held in the BFC Catwalk Space and, approved after being ushered into the line for those with seated tickets, I found myself standing behind a rather ratty lady from Marie Claire who literally huffed and grumbled even if my bag simply brushed her arm. It’s called a queue, darling.


Illustration by Joe Turvey

Hoards of hipsters then made their way into the line behind me (men in wedges, copious amounts of fur and red lipstick – you know the drill) hence this was the moment I knew I was in the line allocated good seats. Front row was, therefore, choc-a-bloc with extreme scenesters and second row wasn’t bad at all when one clocked onto the masses that were standing in any space available. Fashion Week does seem very busy this time round.


Live catwalk illustration by Jenny Robins


Twiggy! All photography by Georgia Takacs

I passed Twiggy’s name on a piece of paper and, upon her arrival moments later, the paps were crazy around her. I could just about see her smile, flashing amidst the flurry. Surrounding her on the front row were the likes of Nicola Roberts and Tallulah Harlech.


Illustration by Joe Turvey

As the lights were just about to dim, the fierce Marina Diamandis – arms adorned with tumbling knitted mice – was ushered to the seat right in front of me by a crazed front-of-house lady belting ‘Make way! Move along!’, probably resulting in some poor lady writing for Grazia sitting cross-legged on the floor. Fashion, eh?


Marina Diamandis

Show time. Bora Aksu didn’t hang around. Dark music and a-symmetric power dresses immediately stormed the catwalk. It was all about sharp tailoring with wool blazers and-the-like including a reoccurring little bow placed high at the neck, either tied there or on the dress. They were, in fact, appearing everywhere – on belts, the backs of dress and even hanging down from the backs of skirts. Bows are big this season!??One thing was for sure, Aksu was clearly enjoying the green. Shirts and underskirts blazed with a bright emerald hue amidst a largely classic palette of greys, charcoals and, of course, black. Green definitely stood out. And it stole the show.


Illustration by Joe Turvey

The dresses had countless genius intricacies – such is the genius of Aksu himself! Every garment had a mix of textures, fabrics, colours and structures. Hemlines were either short-and-sexy or floor-length – the two trends that seem to be dominating, this season. It’s either one extreme or the other, which I LOVE.

Hemlines are greatly important, often defining a silohette, and they were paid great attention to here creating an imposing, powerful image.

With frizzy back-combing and casual back-dos, the hair was understated messy glam. As was the make-up with pale skin and hints of brown. This natural grooming was a definite side-step away from the often mind-boggling intricate creations of Bora Aksu who, once again, delivered a fashion force to be reckoned with!

You can saw more of Jenny Robins’ illustrations in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,Bora Aksu, ,Catwalk review, ,Emerald, ,hipsters, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Marie Claire, ,Marina & the Diamonds, ,Nicola Roberts, ,Tallulah Harlech, ,twiggy

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Bora Aksu (by Jemma)

Bora Aksu London Fashion Week AW11
Bora Aksu by Lisa Stannard

Bora was the hot ticket on Saturday night and it was typical that all the big fashion editors were otherwise engaged, pills ok so they were at Downing Street with the queen of political fashion Sam Cam but I bet they were gutted. In fact I was quite impressed with myself getting a seat right by the models entrance and plonking myself right on the end….that was until the show got soo full up that the side of the stage was crowded with a gazillion people blocking my photographic view. Oh well.

Bora Aksu London Fashion Week AW11
Illustration by Lisa Stannard

Aksu is a graduate of the Central Saint Martins MA (who isn’t these days?) so since 2002 he has been working through his collections and gaining the title of “star of the show” by many newspapers which lead him to his first debut collection off schedule in February 2003. Suzy Menkes is even a fan, mind not an accolade to be taken lightly. Intriguingly Bora Aksu was intent on dressing models in chiffon headband. Now these weren’t ordinarily tied around the head but wrapped in a variety of criss cross styles almost like a facial sling; not that that’s a slur I loved it. Aksu’s aspiration is to “find balance point between contrast [and create romance] with a darker twist.”

Bora Aksu London Fashion Week AW11
Photoography by Jemma Crow

It certainly was a darker show inspired by Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde with Marilyn Manson’s rendition of Sweet Dreams accompanying the models. Although looks were tailored there was an old-fashioned Victorian feel to the collection with bustle style skirts on dresses and bow ties. It even seemed that Aksu had taken a leaf out of Christopher Kane’s book with a green lace dress, looking to be a hot colour for the season along with red (but never together of course that would be ridiculous!) It even came in the form of silky shirts tucked into trousers. Delish!

Aksu knows how to make the OTT side of fashion into a surprisingly wearable collection. I think it’s mostly down to his subtle use of colour (the greens) and detailing (the bows and head scarves) which makes everything just that bit more interesting.

Bora Aksu London Fashion Week AW11
Photoography by Jemma Crow

As with all the popular shows we had the delights of a front row celebrity through non other than M&S sweetheart Twiggy who sat next to our very own Amelia Gregory. But the real press scrum (and I’m not using that word lightly it was a MENTAL scrum) came after the show. What with the likes of Marina from the Diamonds fame, Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud and Twiggy making their exit, getting out of the show was easier said than done. Cue lots of pushing us plebs from the paparazzi as far as we could go just so that they could get the money shot. Not my favourite thing about these shows but it’s all got to be done. And believe me I’ve got elbows to push them back be warned.

Bora Aksu London Fashion Week AW11
Bora Aksu by Lisa Stannard

Thanks to Lisa Stannard for the illustrations. More of her work can be seen in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Categories ,Amelia Gregory, ,AW11, ,Bora Aksu, ,celebrity scrum, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Downing Street, ,Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, ,Lisa Stannard, ,London Fashion Week, ,marilyn manson, ,Marina and The Diamonds, ,Nicola Roberts, ,samantha cameron, ,Suzy Menkes, ,twiggy

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Amelia’s Magazine | LFW 09 – Bora Aksu – Baroque meets Rock!

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I’ll put up my hands and admit that as a girl, health medications not yet a quarter of a century old, remedy talking about music is utterly intimidating. Yet I try. At some point in my life I’ll make a concerted effort to dance about architecture too. There is an endless wealth of information on bands that have already been, that I am never, ever going to be able to catch up on. Yet I try. As a music fan (enough to write about it), I’m embarrassed to admit that I only really discovered my, now, all time favourite band, Talking Heads within the last five years. I know, shoot me down. My convoluted point is that, as much as I try and piece it together, I can only imagine what The Slits releasing ‘Cut’ meant to the females and general youth and music fans of 1979. Yes there was a sex bomb fronted Blondie, intriguingly androgynous Patti Smith and unconventional Kate Bush, but an all female, punk rock band that posed naked on their album sleeve and generally didn’t give a f***. No one saw that coming and their influence has reverberated ever since.

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Fast forward then 30 years and their new album, Trapped Animal, has been unleashed to a society that is certainly far from sorted. But can the music still have the same punch? The garage approach of Cut has inevitably given way to a slicker product all round. That same mixture of reggae rhythms, scratchy guitars, anger and mischief abounds. Rather than sounding like a band thirty years past their prime, as could be said of many a reunion album, there is a freshness that means you could be mistaken for thinking you’re hearing the latest South London council estate collective. This could be explained by the new multi-generational line-up that features Sex Pistol Paul Cook’s daughter, Hollie. You also get the impression that frontwoman Ari Up has as much energy as her fourteen year old self that met original member, Palmolive, at a Patti Smith gig.

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Lyrically, the album doesn’t stretch the boundaries of the concept of rhyming but you wouldn’t hear Girls Aloud bemoaning of “Men who want us to be their mother/Men who hate us because of their mother.” Where the Pop Idol-ers are concerned with their “cappuccinos to go-o”, Up and her girls are hollering about ‘Peer Pressure’, “issues with child abuse” and eschewing the shackles of a nine to five: “We don’t pay rent with a passion, and we don’t wanna follow fashion.”

The fact that foul-mouthed Lily Allen launched her career on the wave of reggae-tinged pop is no accident. The Slits invented the model for anti-establishment, men-bashing, unselfconscious pop and even though this new offering will never live up to Cut standards, it’s a welcome return of punk’s finest.

Helping to keep the pressure on governments across the world, health activists in Australia held a mass action last week against Hazelwood Coal Power Station, erectile one of the dirtiest in the world. The climate camp held a day of planning and workshops, nurse followed by the day of action where a group of over 500 people placed a ‘Community Decommission Order’ on Hazelwood to switch on the renewable energy transition.

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Images from Hazelwood Flickr

Twenty-two people were arrested on the day and, with the Governments lack of conviction, it seems many more are ready for the same sacrifice. As one secondary school teacher put it, “not such a big sacrifice in the scheme of things.” Looking at pictures and reports as well as listening to the radio report, it looks like a well planned day of disobedience. Affinity groups such as the Wombat Warriors, Radical Cheerleaders and Climate Clowns show great initiative. Apparently the police wouldn’t let “bikezilla”, a massive 8-person bike, join the protest though. Shame.

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I caught up with Louise Morris, one of the organisers of the action to get her account of the action and see what’s in store for climate action in Australia.

How long have you been involved in the protest movement in Australia and was there a catalyst for getting involved?

I’ve been involved in campaigning in Australia for over a decade, starting off with the campaign to stop the Jabiluka Uranium mine in Kakadu National park and spending many years as a forest activist and blockader in Tasmania (as a result now one of the Gunns 20) and Western Australia.

I decided to devote my time to climate campaigning in 2006, as the realisation set in that no matter how many pieces of forest we saved through campaigning and blockades etc – if climate change is not dealt with, the climatic conditions forecast will spell the end for all the places we have campaigned for and protected over the years.

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I grew up in mining towns in Western Australia, so am very aware of the sort of environmental and social scars the mining and logging industry inflict. My decision to work on climate issues has been heavily based on the mitigation angle. I am a strong believer in trying to solve a problem, rather than trying cope with the problem as best we can through adaptation measures. This has led me to focus strongly on coal issues and to work within the grassroots realm of climate campaigning. I really do think it’s in the grassroots community movement that we have the most power.

What was your personal experience on last weeks action?

I was one of the key organisers of the Switch off Hazelwood – Switch on Renewables weekend. My experience ranged from having to deal with the police in the lead up to the event and during the event with their complete over-reaction to the whole affair, talking with people who were prepared to be arrested and acting as media spokesperson for the group.

My experience of the action and watching other peoples reaction to the day was extremely positive.

This action was the first of it’s type for the Victorian Climate Movement. For the past few years people have lobbied, rallied in cities etc but never actually taken action at the site of the pollution and been prepared to be arrested.

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We had 500-plus people from all possible walks of life turn up. A lot of families, older folk and a massive representation from the quite mainstream ‘Climate Action Group’ demographic that is strong in Australia. We had 22 people manage to scale the security fences and police lines that were put up prior to our action. In that list of arrestees are doctors, teachers, electricians, stay at home mums… the list goes on.

Our state government tried to label us as eco-terrorists in the lead up to the event. This failed dismally, as our lead up media campaign was very solutions focused (just transition to renewable energy) and we were very open in our aim of civil disobedience… this combined with images of the people who were at the action, got out to the wider world of so many kids, families, professionals and respected members of the community were taking action. We have had a lot of support from the public and arms of the mainstream media.

The feeling post this action is that people are ready for more peaceful community driven direct action, and more people are prepared to get arrested to push the government into some real action on climate change.

How did the mainstream media and the public react?

There has been a noticeable shift in public and media attitudes to people taking action on climate change, post our federal Government’s pathetic announcement of 5% emission reduction by 2020.

In the lead up to this event we put a lot of thought and energy into talking about our message of switching on a transition to renewable energy and switching off coal. Part of this outreach included a public meeting at the town of Morwell, which is the heart of coal country in our state. This was a ‘robust’ meeting but we got great feedback from everyone who came about the transition message and we were supported by unions representing coal workers that we were pushing for a just transition to renewable energy.

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In terms of media – we ran a pretty tight messaging strategy around the fact that this is a community driven event that is calling for a switch from renewable energy and this requires that we switch off coal.

At first we got very little interest, but as the word that people were going to partake in peaceful mass civil disobedience got out, the interest grew. On the whole, we got a pretty fair run in the media in the lead up to the event. A lot of time was spent explaining what civil disobedience was, as Australia has not had a strong activist culture in recent years. Once again the core message that we were calling for a switch from coal to renewables, with a just transition was central in a lot of the willingness of commercial media to hear us out.

Obviously on the day of the action some of the conservative media ran the ‘rowdy protester’ line and showed the fence shaking but considering the sort of coverage we usually get in the mainstream Australian press, I think we have seen a shift in how community protest and civil disobedience is being covered. That said, the large representation of families and ‘ordinary looking folk’ really did help that.

Do you think Australia is ready for a broader movement relating to climate change and what do you think the comparison is to movements across the world?

Yes. We had our first climate camp last year in Newcastle [NSW] and from this it was decided that in 2009 we would have state based events, of which the Switch off Hazelwood event was one. The reasons for this were many, including the fact that Australia is so geographically large that it’s not feasible (financially or environmentally) for people to trek across the country to come to a single climate camp.

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For the next 3 months there will be Climate Camp style events across the country from South Australia, New South Wales to Western Australia. The interest and willingness is there for a movement that is prepared to take action at the site of the big polluters and put some targeted pressure on government and the big polluters who are shaping the climate policy.

In terms of the broader movement relating to climate change there is definitely a lot more scope for more varied forms of action and campaigning. We are currently organising a bunch of movement building events and workshops using the lessons learnt from many countries and campaigns, including elements of the Obama community mobilisation strategy.

Comparisons are hard to make as we live in a massive continent with quite a sparse population, in comparison to many other countries who have strong climate movements. We also have a populace that has been alienated from the concepts of protest, civil disobedience and strong social movements from previous (and still current) governments who have demonised such things as ‘Anti-Australian.’

As one of the organisers of the action, what have you learnt from the process?

Honestly, the importance of networks, community and talking to people face-to-face to get them involved and part of creating the event they want to be a part of. Another lesson we always learn from these events is that people need to have fun organising and being part of events like this – best way to keep them coming back and get more people involved.

The Affinity Group and Working Group model was central in making a lot of elements of this event work. From the public meeting, the promotions, independent media to the action itself.

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What’s next for Climate Camp in Australia?

There are still a number of state based Climate Camps to come in the next few months across Australia after the ‘Switch off Hazelwood – Switch on Renewables’ event. The next immediate one is in South Australia and after that is the one at the Helensbugh coal mine in NSW. So much more Climate Camp action is on the cards. And here in Victoria we are looking ahead to what is next in the lead up to Copenhagen as a national climate event.

Looks like a lot going on in Australia, shame it would have to be a carbon intensive flight away, that or a 6 month cycle mission, hmmm.. now thats an idea.
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MATT AND KIM are a destructive dance duo hailing from Brooklyn, pilule NYC. There are very few bands that can always guarantee you a real good time with one single push of a button, but Matt & Kim never let me down. Ever. We caught this Brooklyn duo live back in June and they knocked our socks off.

Yeah, there are tons of happy-go-lucky bands with that high-energy, high-on-life exuberance, throwing shapes and keeping their toothy smiles fixed, verging on the robotic and the slightly scary. But there’s always the inevitable grating after a few listens as the cheer morphs into a cheesy mess of slobbery, over-enthusiastic group hugs and high-fives that leave you backing away into the safety of Morrissey‘s comforting drones, vowing never to venture away again. Promise.

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The weird thing is, Matt & Kim are super cheesy, but they seem so genuinely fun and unaffected that it’s tough not to abandon any self-concious hang-ups and just leap along with their carefree charm. And if their new tracks are anything to go by, they show no sign of quietening down and getting all mature on us.

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As the jaunty keys and sharp, tapping sticks that start ‘Daylight”s introduction trip and pop, the call and response of “We cut the legs off of our pants/Threw our shoes into the ocean/Sit back and wave through the daylight/Sit back and wave through the daylight” gets louder and fuller, there an immediate hit of teenage nostalgia. It’s a reminder to never grow up too much and when that alarm rings to get you out of bed in the morning – it’s time to wake up.

Watch the duo having fun in their DIY-esque video here:

‘Daylight’ is out on 28th September on Fader Label/Nettwerk.
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Obstinately avoiding the typical artistic “nude” and the potential sexist connotations of the form, medicine Sheila Wallis’s Threadneedle Prize-winning “Self-portrait” does feature the artist without clothes, medical but avoids rendering herself as a sexual object. Instead the artist describes herself as appearing to be a “small, look naked creature” rather than a coquette.

The painting feels very real as opposed to a being a fantasy of female sexiness. She gazes back at the onlooker with a slightly knotted brow but, despite being aware of the attention, doesn’t seem either to play up to it or to be exploited by it. She is vulnerable but remains in control through the action of painting herself. Perhaps a deciding factor in seeing the painting without sexual connotations as a female viewer is knowledge of the gender of the artist and that she is also the subject of the painting; it’s easier to enjoy a nude for what it is without the overtones of an artist/muse relationship.

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The prize is voted for online by visitors to the exhibition, at the Mall Galleries. This year’s exhibition was strong and there was a theme of interaction between man-made structures and nature. For example, Jennifer Godlieb’s eerie “Lurker” (below) seems to depict a gasometer set in a future time when cities are devoid of people and all is overgrown and transformed into a spookily beautiful Scandinavian forest. The message could be an environmentalist one: despite the messages about “saving our world” from climate change, eventually Mother Nature will reclaim all our efforts.

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In contrast to the fairy-castle appearance of Godlieb’s post-human architecture, Zachary Peirce’s painting of “Pripyat, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone 1” bleaches the colours out of the natural landscape, leaving washed-out pinks, bruise purples and a colour the same yellow tone as human skin. A slight touch of green appears murky and poisonous. In the background there is a building that appears to be melting: the black outlines drip down the canvas into the overgrowth. Here the impact of humanity’s failings on nature has created a dirty, deserted area without any of the peace of Godlieb’s twilight scene.

Peter Wylie’s brutalist tower block “Goldfinger four (with Le Corbusier flaking paint from Villa La Roche)” is actually still occupied but the exterior of the worn old concrete monster offers little comfort. The golden windows that presumably inspired the title do seem to imply little pockets of cosy humanity lurking within.

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Dotted across the image are pieces of flaking paint taken from a Le Corbusier building – perhaps the remains of a previous, shining image, gradually chipped away to reveal the reality of high-rise communal living? Le Corbusier’s use of concrete has led to some grim surroundings for those living there and it has been noted that as a material it wears much worse in the wet conditions of Britain compared to the sunnier climes of the South of France.

The buildings in “Goldfinger” block out any glimpse of sky and look like they belong in the pages of “1984”; but it’s unclear what commentary Wylie is making beyond the appearance of the building. How do these designs impact of the lifestyle of those who live in them? As in the other works, people are invisible but here they are not absent. I didn’t feel comfortable making assumptions about whether this represented a dystopian future or present because of the possibly classist assumptions – these buildings are usually destined for lower-income people. Can high-density urban estates ever live up to the utopian dreams of those who design them?

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The exhibition overall was extremely thought-provoking and varied, from the landscapes to the portraiture. A large-scale religious painting of the crucifixion of Saint Peter, by Louis Smith, was among the most physically imposing of the works on display along with a knitted bear and a huge photo-real “forensic examination” of a bespectacled man, painted in minute gory detail by Oliver Jones.
The Ethical Fashion Forum has been popping up all over the place at here at Amelia’s Magazine. Back in June we covered the first section of their biannual competition established to reward good deeds regarding sustainability in Fashion. Titled PURE, cialis 40mg the winners – South African designer Lalesso and Malawi designer MIA– would display their designs at the PURE tradeshow. Yesterday in the rather lovely setting of the Hospital Club, the EFF announced the second half of their competition, the Esthetica awards. Judged by Dolly Jones from vogue.com.

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MIA

As the crowd waited perched on sofas, leaning against walls as we huddled round the catwalk Dolly Jones announced the winners: Mark Liu, Henrietta Ludgate (who was championed by Amelia’s Magazine earlier this year as a one to watch), MIA and Lalesso (both of whom you will have noticed were mentioned earlier in reference to winning the PURE awards in June).

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MIA

After the announcements, the catwalk begin to sounds of bouncing pop and the models began to work the room. Each designer sent two designs down the catwalk, as teasers for their entire line. I would have loved to have seen more of the collections. Especially as the majority, if not the entirety, of what was sent down the Innovation catwalk was jump-off-the-catwalk-and-onto-my-back wearable.

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Lalesso

To accompany the catwalk, the Ethical Fashion Forum provided recycled cardboard handouts detailing the reasons behind each designer’s selection. Mark Liu for developing a pattern cutting process that minimizes the amount of waste material produced by each garment, helping to “pioneering Zero Waste Fashion”. This made me think instantly of the “A-POC” line by Issey Miyake or taking it out of the acronym; the A piece of cloth project. From which the wearer is able to create endless items out of a single well-cut piece of fabric. Myakke is said to be continuing to develop this idea after becoming concerned about the impact of textile waste on the environment. It’s great to see young and established designers tackling the industry’s waste problem and turning it into a conceptual wearable idea. To compliment Liu’s pattern cutting he uses organic fabrics, low impact dyes and water based pigments. The two dresses, sent down the catwalk, were reminiscent of Peter Pan or an elfish child as they hung playfully off the models. Perfect for a summer’s day in the park.

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Lalesso

Henrietta Ludgate worked with Osman Yousefzada after graduating from St. Martins and is now starting her own label. Ludgate’s philosophy lies in the maintenance of British craftsmanship. All the materials are sourced from British Mills and the collection is made entirely in a traditional Scottish crofting village. Her dresses really intrigue me being a combination of what appears to be felt and fleece. The pieces (not shown on the catwalk, but worn by members of the audience) had a similar feel in their shapes as Matthew Williamson’s graduate collection at St Martins. The new collection contained a wearable jersey dress with interesting piping detail to structure the back. Alongside a maxi dress which appeared to be an extended bankers shirt.

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Henrietta Ludgate

Lalesso creates women’s wear out of traditional East African Fabrics, which translate perfectly for a Saturday spent walking around town and sitting in parks. The bold floral patterns were instantly eye catching.

MIA’s recycled fabrics and traditional Malawain textiles produced a refreshing take on up-cycling old urban sportswear into summer dresses.

The Innovation competition is importantly drawing attention to the numerous ways new designers are tackling challenges of sustainability that the fashion industry faces as a whole.

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Henriette Ludgate

MIA is tackling craftsman’s jobs lost through the abundance of cheap second hand clothes on Malawi’s market stalls by employing local people in the process of up-cycling. All profits are put back into the community support, as well as buying equipment and training to maintain market access and community livelihoods. Furthermore (thanks again to the cards handing out by the Ethical Fashion Industry at the show), Lalesso recently founded SOKO – an ethical and eco fashion production plant in Kenya. Offering opportunities for other design companies to produce collections with the profits and increased job market to benefit communities in Kenya.

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Mark Liu

The Ethical Fashion Forum and Innovation are proving not only that designers are environmentally aware when making their clothes and considering waste. But importantly they are using their businesses to recreate jobs and a skill based workforce in local communities effected by both the waste and desire for Fast Fashion.
The 25th London Fashion Week began yesterday in its new haunt of Somerset House. Turning up to register, stuff there was the expected photo crush as numerous street style photographers selected those most fashionably dressed to stand before their lens. Not surprisingly London Fashion Week has been a lesson on how to be scarily on trend. Leather studded Jackets check. Harem pants in black and multiple prints. Check. Statement shoes check.check.check. Big Power Shoulders. Check. The most amazing outfit –outside the catwalk- was on the front row at Ashley Islam (more to come on this collection later). Sitting next to Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child immaculat in Vivienne, what is ed was a rather beautiful man with an Anna Wintour bob,
complete with a dress made from nails. This often disregarded material was transformed into the ultimate disco dress, that tinkled out of shows.

On|Off presents their off schedule designers at 180 the Strand. Down in the industrial stylebasement, the catwalk appeared from behind plastic sheets and the ever ready crowd of journalists, photographers and buyers took their seats to view collections from Prose Studio, Yang Du, Michela Carraro and Joanna Vaderpuije.

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The Prose Studio Collection of bold oil slick printed dresses was first down the catwalk. The feminine fluent dresses billowed around the models, falling down from the neck, along the arms and tacking tightly in at the waist to fall once more to the knees.

Remember blowing paint across water’s surface to create marbling patterns when pressed onto paper? Prose Studio’s harem pants felt as if the fabric had been dipped into the solution and hung out to dry. The drapes of the pants were delicately covered leaving the leg fabric bare.

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The collection finished with a free flowing printed white tunic over white marbled dripped leggings.

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Next up were Michela Carraro’s deconstructed geishas complete with rags tied into bondage shoes, big 80′s shoulders remain on the catwalk alongside constructed sheer blouses.

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The shapes and layering were reminiscent of John Galliano’s personal style and diffusion line with an injection of Vivienne Westwood’s pirate’s collection. As the light blue piece sashayed down the catwalk, it suddenly struck.

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What was being offered was a re-invention of a feminine suit, capable of expressing personality rather than smothering it underneath a shapeless blazer. This was a collection representing the intriguing daywear as represented with the gallantly bold, bordering on the garish printed trousers, under tucked beneath the swashbuckling floating blouses held together at the front with delicate stitching. Completed with the bandaged shoes, the piece formed an illustrious silhouette when framed by photographers.

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Third was Joanna Wanderpuije’s elegant collection of modern shapes complete with the return of the perspex stars from the A/W collection, for S/S the stars are attached to the hips of the cotton skirt. Plenty of well cut shorts and printed tanks for effortless lux.

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Leather bra tops – continuing previous seasons’ trends for underwear as outwear- hardened the collection appearing under a cropped print jacket nestling above the high-waisted cream trouser. A splash of colour was provided with the up-pleated tunic dress. The collection was incredible wearable with Wanderpuije’s prints elegant in their application and beautifully sculpted from material.

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Fashion provides the opportunity to dive into new worlds, peer into another’s imagination. It can function similarly to illustration and convey a sense of being in the world and by being idiosyncratic tap into the public consciousness. The last piece from Yang Du‘s collection was one distinctive outfit from the Louis Vitton-esque rabbit ears combined with bold blue and white striped constructed-to-be-slouchy oversized dress.

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The outfit instantly burned into the retina, this was something to wear as unemployment rates soar, it’s warm and it’s bright. This was fun fantastical fashion and I loved the oversized knitted bag that followed the models down the catwalk as if a rather petulant child.

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As with all three previous designers, at Yang Du it was all about the detailing; tunic dresses were altered with cut away bra holes overlaid with fringing. Grinning cartoon faces contrasted wide blue knitted stripes, tight tight dresses were sent down with bold geometric black and white prints. Not forgetting the head adornments.

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A great start to London Fashion Week, a mix of eccentricity and wearable shapes with most importantly the clothes bringing a smile to one’s face.

the depths of 180 The Strand, dosage where this year’s On|Off catwalk be, Bernard Chandran is about to present his S/S2010 collection. I’m excited.

I saw Chandran’s A/W collection back in February. It was incredible, and I was concerned that this season’s couldn’t live up. I need not have worried.

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Yet another diverse and inspired collection, the first model appeared wearing a silk muzzle with a graphic pattern. These unusual face decorations featured prominently in the show. Printed, bejewelled, moulded from the shape of the face – it was clear they were making a statement. “It’s my reaction to climate change,” Bernard told me afterwards. It’s a provoking image we’re accustomed to seeing – during the SARS crisis and more recently with the swine-flu pandemic. Chandran has translated this evocative image and created masks of beauty.

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Dresses were striking, bold statement pieces, in hues ranging from ochre to pewter. Folds and flaps created geometric silhouettes, showcasing Chandran’s skills as a craftsman, and revealing a possible Hussein Chalayan influence.

Other pieces consisted of simple shift dresses enveloped by folded, dynamically-cut fabric, creating exaggerated shoulders and wing-like forms, apposing the contours of the female form.

I loved this glittered interpretation of the bustier. Fashion-forward women only, need apply:

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Patterns on masks and clothing had been translated directly from objects that surround Bernard in his day-to-day life. A stunning linear print in amber and black had been taken directly from “a basket that people give [Bernard} flowers in!” Bernard recalled. Looking again at the print makes sense of it – it appears almost photographic.

Another key look was the Chinese coolie hat, worn by a handful of models. Bernard in interesting in their form. “I like the way they fold, the way they are created – which can be said for a lot of my work,” Bernard told me. “The way an envelope folds, for example – like here,” as he gestured to a photograph on the wall backstage of a structured, geometric dress.

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The more feminine consumer need not worry, as the show also included elegantly draped smock dresses and sumptuous blouson skirts, in chiffon, with organic, natural prints. These pieces were the most surprising considering his A/W 09/10 collection was so bold and striking. “Sometimes you just have to,” Bernard laughed.

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There were so many different looks in this collection. It may sound as if the pieces were too disparate but this was not the case, as one after the other complimented each other, almost magically. Take the structured dress with exaggerated hips, fast becoming Bernard’s signature, juxtaposed with the softer sheer fabric pieces draped effortlessly over the models; juxtaposed with the hooded smock reminiscent, again, of an envelope; the prints and tones of each piece somehow beautifully transforming into the next.

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Soul singer Estelle is a huge fan of Chandran’s work, shunning major fashion houses to wear his looks at awards ceremonies, so it was no surprise to see Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams and Beverley Knight wide-eyed on the front row. A Bernard Chandran woman is a glamorous, confident, ostentatious creature. It’s time this design hero took centre stage on-schedule. Sort it out, BFC!

All photographs and text by Matt Bramford
In the uninspiring BFC tent situated in the beautiful Neoclassical courtyard of the totally inspiring Somerset House, click Turkish-born Bora Aksu presented his Spring/Summer 2010 collection yesterday. He drew a huge turn-out, website like this and the buzz surrounding this designer is palpable.

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It’s easy to see why. Bora’s style is elegant meets grunge, viagra buy decorative meets diverse. Inspired by a children’s story, Bora’s was a collection of confident charm. Monochrome, sequinned leggings were semi-concealed by free, floating lace dresses, making use of a pale pink palette. Ostentatious, almost cape like billowing sleeves, complimented basic mini dresses, and garments were accoladed by additional design quirks such as the bow and pussy-bow ties.

Tailored shrunken jackets with exaggerated shoulders (fast becoming a LFW S/S 2010 trend) were embellished with lace and severe gold appliqué, creating mysterious shapes off-set by neutral shirts and tulip skirts in pale tones, bordering on white.

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Bora’s inspiration was most apparent through his use of romantic baroque prints in light pink and black. Used on accessories and corseted belts, these were married with softer fabrics such as organza. Dramatic, high necklines gave a nod to the Victorians whilst the hair was reminiscent of the French Revolution through delicate braiding and extravagant backcombing.

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The collection grew in confidence, beginning with the aforementioned, almost apologetic pale hues and climaxing with more provocative pieces in black and silver. The air sizzled as these structured pieces, with the reappearance of the shoulder-enhancing blazer, had real sex appeal.

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Vests and trousers were teamed for a sharper, masculine look, and featured organic and interesting knitted shapes, as if torn or ripped. These additional adornments hung between the modal’s neck and chest evoked images of the human anatomy. The model and designer laid bare for all to watch.

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Bora Aksu’s signature style is ‘romanticism with a darker edge,’ which pretty much summarises this unique and considered collection.

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All text and pictures by Matt Bramford

Categories ,anatomy, ,baroque, ,Bora Aksu, ,Fairy tales, ,London Fashion Week 09, ,Rock Chic, ,Somerset House

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