Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2010 Catwalk Review: Belle Sauvage

Belle Sauvage. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Belle Sauvage. All photography by Amelia Gregory unless otherwise stated.

It’s always good, approved I find, to get talking to the various freaks I photograph at fashion week. So there I was, taking an artfully staged pose of a boy channelling a New Romantic Michael Jackson (I’m sure there’s nothing like a death to bring on the best types of homage) when we got into a little conversation. “Are you a blogger?” he asked. “Why yes, I suppose I am, I said,” giving him my card. “Ohhhhh,” he went. “I know you – you’ve taught me. You came down to Epsom and gave us a lecture recently.”

Looking HAWT at fashion week gets you places...
Looking HAWT at fashion week gets you places…

I congratulated him on actually making an effort to get out to the fashion shows and he bemoaned his classmates, many of whom obviously weren’t inclined to blag it into the shows or maybe just didn’t possess his particular kind of panache. He told me had tickets for Mark Fast. Really? “Nightmare,” he said like a seasoned pro, gesticulating to the crush outside the venue before being whisked straight to the front of the queue by his mates. You see kids, if you dress up and make an effort to look FABULOUS, you get automatic access to all the best bits of fashion week. Mark Fast eh? I was refused tickets for that show dear readers. “Sorry we are oversubscribed so cannot accommodate you,” was the abrupt response from one Charlotte Delahunty (who she?) Unless, it appears, you are an ambitious student of mine. In which case you will be accommodated. I talked to Mark at his stand over at Somerset House and in person he proved to be very lovely, but it is the press bitches that control the gates to the shows and it pays to know these people. And they know it. Unfortunately I’m not very good at sucking arse. Sorry, I mean, being polite and charming (unless I genuinely like you). Story of my life really – but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t recommend making that little bit extra bit of effort to get along in fashion if that’s where your future lies. The future lies with the ambitious. Go out there, make friends and always, always dress fabulous.

Belle Sauvage runway. Photography by Tim Adey.
Belle Sauvage runway. Photography by Tim Adey.

Belle Sauvage. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
Belle Sauvage by Maryanne Oliver
Belle Sauvage by Maryanne Oliver.

Belle Sauvage.
Belle Sauvage by Maryanne Oliver
Belle Sauvage by Maryanne Oliver.

Belle Sauvage
Check out those armoured shoes. Won’t get into any trouble in those, no siree.

Belle Sauvage high hair and close plaits by Maryanne Oliver
Belle Sauvage high hair and close plaits by Maryanne Oliver.

Belle Sauvage

But back to the shows. Belle Sauvage is the baby of designers Virginia Ferreira and Christian Neuman. They’ve only just starting showing at London Fashion Week and there was a good crowd piled into Victoria House to see what they’d cooked up for their new collection. They have already made a bit of a name for their strong digital prints, and on this score they did not disappoint. Fritz Lang Metropolis inspired kaleidoscopic shapes were splattered across leggings and short shift dressings. A large face stared ominously back from oversized slouchy knitwear. Huge protected shoes, spiked and plated shapes emphasised the ever-present armoured theme, as did the severe back-combed mohawks and high swept eyeliner – making the models appear alien-esque, cold and untouchable as they strode down the runway to an industrial sound track. Belle Sauvage class themselves as a “boutique” brand and retail at a reasonable price on websites such as ASOS. It’s not easy to marry catwalk edginess with commerciality – especially at this price point – but Belle Sauvage seem to be making admirable headway. Other brands would do well to watch and learn.

Belle Sauvage. Photography by Tim Adey.
Belle Sauvage ALIENS. Photography by Tim Adey.

Categories ,ASOS, ,Belle Sauvage, ,Blagging, ,boutique, ,Christian Neuman, ,Digital Prints, ,epsom, ,Fritz Lang, ,Leggings, ,Mark Fast, ,Maryanne Oliver, ,Michael Jackson, ,New Romantic, ,UCCA, ,Victoria House, ,Virginia Ferreira

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Amelia’s Magazine | Dolls Night Out

IllustrEIGHT is a series of live art installations by eight up-and-coming artists, pill ed which has been set up against the walls of Topshop’s Oxford Circus and Manchester Arndale stores. The gallery exhibitions, see due to run until the 7th September, cost include an exclusive capsule collection of eight t-shirts inspired by each of the artists themselves. With art and fashion being my two favourite things, the event sounded too good to miss.

So I flip flop along to Topshop with my soon-to-be-obsolete student discount card burning a metaphorical hole in my soon-to-be-replaced pocket. Any hesitation about spending the hottest Saturday in recent British summer history in quite possibly the busiest shop in retail history somewhat assuaged by IllustrEIGHT’s canny guise as an art exhibition.

But first, in the spirit of journalistic veracity, a confession: my name is Arabella Gubay and I am a t-shirt phobic, who avoids, or at best, approaches this most casual of garb with extreme caution and lives instead in the t-shirt’s polar opposite, the Little Black Dress.

Naturally then, I’m cautious about critiquing IllustrEIGHT’s capsule collection of eight illustrated t-shirts. But, bolstered by the knowledge that the ubiquity of the slogan/illustrated/statement tee shows no sign of abating and willing to overcome my streetwear phobia, I go where I have not gone before: the Topshop jersey section.

From Fern Cotton’s plausibly Dairy Association sponsored Topshop ‘Love My Bones‘ t-shirt, to ingénue Alexa Chung’s monochrome ‘In the Deep End‘ Marc by Marc Jacobs tee, this is the season of the statement t-shirt. Funny, mind, that the statement of the most recent raft of tees is so uniformly ambiguous; eco warrior Katharine Hamnett’s iconic slogan tees seeming positively cavalier in their comparative certitude. ‘Stay Alive in ‘85′ they scream; “I think that ship has sailed” I retort.

But I digress, nestled at the back of Topshop’s jersey section lie IllustrEIGHT’s eight tees, while scattered around the cavernous store their correlative installations. I use the word ‘scattered’ lightly as it’s more like an advanced level egg hunt with (imperative) map provided. This though, is perhaps integral to the concept of IllustREIGHT, the exhibition drawing inspiration from the creative art collective Designersblock, whose raison d’être is exhibiting work in unusual, labyrinthine locations.

Having located Pomme Chan’s illustration on a plinth near Topshop’s Boutique section with the kind of sartorial homing instinct usually reserved for finding cheap as chips Jens Laugesen separates at designer sales, I make a bee line for Chan’s long line jersey tee emblazoned with gothic floral illustration.


All of the illustrations are exquisite. From Joe Wilson’s elaborate and painstakingly etched design on ethereal eau de nil tee, apparently inspired by Quantum Physics and Scientific exploration – whoa there, it’s way too early sub-atomics – to London-based Kerry Roper’s eye popping pink gnomic design on an oh so A/W ’08 purple tee. With Topshop true to populist retail form, there is truly something for everyone.



My only criticism is the tees themselves. Forget the sometime incompatibility of art and fashion, the rendering of eight ineffably beautiful illustrations on poorly cut viscose jersey tees seems to me the height of aburdity. Take Barcelona-based Alex Trochut’s whimsical necklace design on periwinkle blue t-shirt dress. The print reminiscent of Ricardo Tisci’s £3,750 ‘It’ necklace; the cut reminiscent of a straitjacket.


I’m tempted but with its batwing sleeves and heavily ruched seams the cut truly does preclude all but those most necessary movements; and I value my mobility. So with the foolproof dictum ‘fashion detail is style death’ ringing in my ears, I return Trochut’s beautiful tee to the rail, sadly surmising that this is, in fact, unwearable art. Brighton Art College graduate James Taylor’s graphic print tee with owl motif is perhaps the most successful overall. The plain white tee upon which the illustration is impressed allowing the print itself to make the statement, the cut and beautiful fit making this almost the perfect tee…but the fabric, oh dear the fabric.


And so my unexpected foray into Topshop’s more casual recesses sees me leave with two jersey pieces. The first, a Fair Trade 100% cotton tunic in ultraviolet and the second a Fair Trade Zip Front Tee in classic black. Perhaps the age-old equine idiom should be revised, you can lead a gal to the jersey section but you certainly can’t make her don viscose.

Sarah Howell

Harry Malt

On Wednesday evening, help a handful of Amelia’s crew attended the Lee Moves East party to help celebrate the opening of a new Lee jeans showroom in Shoreditch. Arriving promptly on time, we helped ourselves to the drinks and then had a look around the two-floor display. Approached by friendly greeters, these denim experts were able to show us the collection and give us coupons for a chance to win a free pair of jeans. Unfortunately, none of us walked away with any.



There was a nice variety in the collection, but it lacked anything extraordinary or unexpected. It was your traditional all-American Lee style, with plenty of plaid button-ups, denim, graphic tees and studded leather jackets(which happened to be my personal favorite).




As the evening continued, the crowds gathered and the party was in full swing. There was an abundance of tasty hors d’oeuvres and drinks for everyone to enjoy while we mingled and satisfied our appetites. Live models and a DJ added to the atmosphere, with Pete and the Pirates scheduled to perform, but before we had the chance to check them out, we were on our way to the next event. Luckily, Sarah was able to hang around a bit to get a listen. Check out the music section soon to read more.


Getting there proved a little difficult

Me and Dearbhaile arrived at Westbourne Park tube to the sound of carnival, site and we then waited for a good half an hour for various other people to arrive, treat which unfortunately they did not. This was to set a trend for most of the day. A testament to the fun of Notting Hill carnival however is that queuing and waiting are my two least favourite things – but despite all the delays during our day, adiposity I still had an amazing day.

On the way to the Diplo & Switch Barbecue I got to enjoy some staples for the true Notting Hill Carnival experience, such as people selling rum punch from a bucket they were carrying around, people offering the use of their toilets for the price of £5 and, of course, endlessly slow moving crowds of people. I have to say I was overjoyed to get out of the raucous and into the area, under a flyover, where the party was.

Oh dear

I then proceeded in spending the next few hours filling myself with beer, barbecue and music – and I couldn’t help but think that this is truly what bank holiday Mondays should be about. Especially when teamed with a line-up that made me child-like and girly with excitement.


Unfortunately we missed the fantastically titled Mumdance, and didn’t catch an awful lot of Toddla T. The latter of which would have perhaps been the high point of my day. His own productions of more accessible Dancehall seem to work so well in British clubs, as they can sit alongside most line-ups, yet still stand out as something totally unique. However, we didn’t see much of his set, so it doesn’t really matter.

By the time we did manage to get on the dancefloor, (well, it was more of a section of car park), we were treated to the ridiculous sounds of Rusko. Although his own stuff tends to annoy me, due to the fact that he just tends to make less interesting, re-hashes of his biggest tune Cockney Thug – his set was a fairly mixed bag. He even reached for some bassline, which was, err, fun?


After a rather squashed queuing for the bar, we then rejoined the crowd to see Heatwave’s set. This was perfect for a bit of late afternoon partying, it certainly got the crowd moving, and was the most carnival spirited set of the day – and perhaps because of this it served as a great warm up for Switch and Diplo’s sets.

I was excited to hear Switch and Diplo’s new dancehall project, but the reality was that whether Major Lazer made it on stage or not I really couldn’t tell you. It was more the case that anyone near the decks or the microphones could have a go. This would usually have ended in disaster, but it was great. Maybe I had been showing the free bar too much interest, but it just seemed like everybody was just genuinely thrilled to be there.


As with every good party, there was also a good after party – this time in the form of Durrr. Perhaps one of the most established club nights in London, I always have high hopes when queuing outside. It never disappoints, but then it never really thrills, perhaps because the majority there had work in the morning. The DJs are always good though, especially when they stick to disco, as opposed to opting for techno – but by the time the headliner Boys Noize came on I was far too tired to enjoy as much as it deserved to be enjoyed.

A few weeks back the lovely Nikki knocked on our door to have a word with Amelia. Alas Amelia was out, discount but that gave us a chance to have a chin wag with the talented illustrator (it was our lunch break!) Amongst tea and complaining about the lack of summery weather, hospital Nikki mentioned that she had an exhibition showing in the Islington Arts Factory. So Kate (earth editor) and myself being the eager beavers we are, decided to check it out the next day.

Despite Kate falling down some escalator stairs and me not knowing what directions to take from the station; we did eventually arrive at the gallery. We arrived just at the right time as the owner had just opened the doors, accompanied by a playful pug.


The building, converted from a church provides a cosy, oldsy feel which is perfect for the WAM (Women’s Art Movement) exhibition. WAM aims to ‘bring together the complexities of motivation, inspiration and continuity with the aim of providing a resource for information, advice, support and guidance’. With so many women artists the exhibition definitely feels eclectic.

Ofcourse we made a beeline for Nikki Pinder‘s work which is dark but playful and delightful at the same time. There is so much information to register, it makes your brain tick like clockwork.



Janice Fisher‘s vintage large scale pieces also caught my eye. A simple rendition of movement with an age-old feel reminded me of images on vintage post cards.


Ann Foster‘s pieces where Minnie Mouse looked distinctly 1950s, juxtaposed a cute kitch feel with expressive and modern strokes of paint in the background. Glitter dollar signs also popped up here and there. From the piece I could detect a cynicism towards consumer culture but also gender, performance and transgender were touched on. I liked the ideas behind the piece but wished she had done more to ‘doll up’ Minnie; making her a clearer symbol of an adult world of dress up, transvestites and materialism. The cuteness of minnie set against the dark current would have presented more of a discernible tension.


One of my favourite works was from Silvia Cristo whose collages on metal used a mixed medium of old photographs, words cut up from magazine, scribbles and paints used to create a dissolved, worn down effect. They looked and felt like snippets from the past, of encounters from a trip down memory lane.



After all that viewing, the friendly pug came back to say goodbye to us.

clearly not impressed!

The show is definitely a mixed bag with some innovative pieces but also some that feel slightly outdated. But it’s definitely worth a pit stop if you live near by and want a dose of varied art from different female perspectives.

On the most part dolls are fairly likeable. Admittedly, this some have been given a slightly sinister reputation, pills thanks mostly to Chucky. But, what can’t be argued with is how likeable tea is. And when served with cake the likeability factor goes off the scale. Last Thursday, as part of the ongoing retrospective of Viktor and Rolf, the Barbican with Viva Cake had a tea party celebrating these three joys.


Getting off the tube we played ‘Guess Who’s Going’, made a lot easier but the many takes on doll costumes tottering towards the Barbican. Following a toy soldier (there were a handful of guys in attendance) into the Garden Room, I felt like I had been catapulted back to the forties. The room, decked out by the Viva Cakes girls, was reminiscent of the mad-hatters tea party mixed with Gran’s best china. Even Alice (one girl had a costume inspired by the hallucinating blonde) was in attendance, but disappointingly no actual mad-hatter.

Alice and friends

It had been a long week of events for Team Amelia’s and the promise of tea had kept my stamina up to enjoy another event. But here I was at a tea party with no tea and no cake! Made worse by watching others tucking into the treats, whilst also seated. Jealously, I tore my eyes away from all the happy tea diners. What to do? Not having been too many tea parties I was unsure of the etiquette. Was I allowed to march on over to a table and nab a cake or did I have to wait it out?

A few boys enjoy cards and tea
Cake! Tea!

Whilst pondering this potential faux-pas, relief came in the form of a trolley (dolly) piled high with cakes, oozing with cream, glowing from pink food colouring, devil flavoured, butter creamed and fruit topped. I tried to act the lady by not throwing myself at the cakes, after all this was a tea party, and daintliy picked up two delicious looking cupcakes. Then has luck would have more stools were brought out and we skipped (like I said acting like ladies) on over. Now if only the tea would arrive, we would have a tea party on our hands!

Getting dolled up.

We passed the time, spotting the doll costumes we liked the most and watching others having doll cheek make-up applied. Emma wandered over to the Lady Luck Rules Ok! little stall to buy a Russian doll personalised necklace for her friend who is obsessed with Russian Dolls as a birthday present. We all cooed over the necklace, which was a distraction from the wanting of tea. But oh, there is only so much waiting you can stand! Two hours is too long to wait for the promise of a cuppa. So, with the band playing we made our way out tea-less and dishevelled, as more dolled up ladies and a few gents made their way in.

More dolls

I’ve heard really good things about Viva Cake tea parties, so I don’t want to be mean and I was told, there was a shortage of tea cups hence the tea hold up. But not having a cup of tea at a tea party is a bit of a let down. I mean, what are you supposed to do at tea party with no tea? Next time I’ll bring my own cup.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Apartment C – ‘A fashion retailer that just happens to sell lingerie’

still corners singer

Illustration by Joana Faria

At the top of Marylebone High Street lurks a lingerie shop with attitude. Surrounded by fashion-favourite names and organic cafés, generic it’s both niche-market neighbour and rebellious relative. Meet Apartment C, ‘a fashion retailer that just happens to sell lingerie’. And a lot more besides.

Invited to join Apartment C’s owner Kenya Cretegny for a teacup of G&T, I arrive  feeling excited, curious and thrilled to escape London’s relentless chills. While my eyes dart around the dramatic window-display, the door opens and I’m cocooned by an intense warmth that’s almost hypnotic. Falling further under Apartment C’s ‘spell’, I recline on a cherry-coloured chaise longue while Kenya explains her design-inspiration: “the home of Serge Gainsbourg” meets “the apartment of Coco Chanel at the Ritz”.

Photographs by Kate Ingram

Forget white-washed minimalism à la nearby boutiques. Here, it’s black walls, wax candles, red-tinted photographs and “a bit of taxidermy”, creating a boudoir-showcase for lacy, racy and eye-catching lingerie. Yet this is no ordinary ‘boudoir’; it’s grown-up and fashion conscious. No red-light-seediness or clichéd kitsch. Escapist? Definitely. And, deliciously naughty. But it’s also a place where you “feel free to stay and visit for a while”. Boys are welcome too.

Illustration by Matilde Sazio

A Central Saint Martins graduate, Kenya always envisaged Apartment C as a concept store, designing interiors herself, “right down to creating foam board models of the space”. First stop from the high street is the “Lounge”, where lingerie displays are instantly different, adorned with dramatic jewels and paper eyelashes. Walk through to the “Library” and discover a treasure-trove of accessories, swimwear, fashion books, trashy romance novels and G&T’s served from a retro 1930’s bar (an enviable eBay purchase). Furniture, generally, is a cool blend of Art Deco and 1960’s pieces, which seemingly never belonged anywhere else. I sense that the “Library” is Kenya’s favourite part; almost the inner workings of her imagination, to which you are granted access. Play along and purchasing possibilities are endless; who’s thinking about the rain, or recession now? With soft carpet underfoot and French perfumes spritzing the air, I’m soon agreeing with Kenya’s friendly team that I could happily move into this stylish apartment, I mean, shop.

Illustration by Cat Palairet

So, which lingerie labels are seducing the Apartment C woman (or her G&T-fuelled lover on the chaise longue)? While “primary focus” is upcoming talent, Kenya and her team stocks “fashion-forward lingerie brands that [they] consider innovators”. A diverse selection, including Princesse Tam Tam, Stella McCartney, Lascivious, Fleur of England and Marlies Dekkers, appeals to many forms of femininity. Kenya shares insightfully: “women are multi-faceted and sometimes we want lingerie that is romantic, sometimes it’s fashion-focused and sometimes it’s sexy…and sometimes we just want to sit in something lovely and comfortable and have a cup of tea.” Save for a few ‘dominatrix’-style pieces, there’s nothing too intimidating about Apartment C, nothing too outrageously sexy. Even the mannequin ‘posing’ provocatively on the bar, appears refreshingly innocent. Particularly so, considering other, more overt versions of sexuality, which reinforce the psychology that women only wear lingerie for someone else. Kenya longs to change such attitudes. Wearing good underwear for yourself? “It’s like saying I love me. We all need a bit of that!”

Illustrations by Joana Faria

Kenya has become a self-made ambassador for emerging lingerie designers, but  her finely-crafted backdrop to the bras and bodices has likely led to equal recognition (namely, “Vogue’s favourite lingerie boutique”). Where did the concept for Apartment C originate? Copenhagen. “We heard the most glorious party… the tinkling of glasses, music playing softly in the background, the quiet rumble of voices and then deep, throaty laughter….the whole experience felt so decadent and wonderful and alive.”

Ah, the mysterious ‘C’ refers to Copenhagen? Or, Cretegna? Neither. It’s based on Kenya’s discovery that people living in ‘Apartment C’ always seem to host the best parties! Kenya’s passion for her business is tangible, from meticulously arranged costume jewellery, to spacious changing rooms, to her personal style: “…dependent on my mood, and what kind of conversation I would like to have with the world on that particular day.” Well today, Kenya’s skinny leather trousers worn with A/W 2010 aplomb are pitch-perfect ‘Apartment C’. Feminine, but strong. Sexy, but not too much. Fashion-forward and charismatic, despite  extraordinary surroundings. A fashion retailer that just happens to sell lingerie? I couldn’t agree more.

Categories ,Apartment C, ,Boudoir, ,boutique, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Coco Chanel, ,copenhagen, ,Fleur de England, ,G&Ts, ,Kenya Cretegny, ,Lascivious, ,lingerie, ,london, ,Marlies Dekkers, ,Marylebone High Street, ,Princesse Tam Tam, ,retro, ,serge gainsbourg, ,Stella McCartney, ,The Ritz, ,underwear, ,vogue

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

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013 by Karolina Burdon
Apu Jan LFW A/W 2013 by Karolina Burdon

“Did you see it?” Another writer asks me after the show. “See what?” I say. “I can’t believe I missed it,” I exclaim after I’ve been informed, shaking my head. “It would have been the highlight of my day.” There’s some kind of strange non-sexual delight that can be taken from witnessing a public nip-slip, perhaps because of how the British press deals with nudity, perhaps because there’s a trace of irony in an unintentional birthday-suit reveal during a show that’s meant to focus attention on clothes. This sneak-peek also undermines the potential wear-ability of garments, if with so much preparation the models still experience accidental over-exposure. I feel slightly disappointed in myself for being right there in the heart of the action and missing this accidental nudity mid-show. Although, I’m informed that rather than the full-package it was just a quick flash of some nipple-tape. I pledge to pay more attention in future.

Apu Jan LFW 2013 by Rosemary Kirton
Apu Jan A/W 2013 LFW by Rosemary Kirton

As one of the first shows of Autumn/ Winter 2013 London Fashion Week, I find Apu Jan‘s collection a little disappointing. This collection, entitled Petroleum, features some oriental elements with a twist of modernity. The ocean was a big inspiration, which is reflected in the palette. The oversized knitwear adds a touch of androgyny to the outfits and a pair of neon-blue heels on one model catch my eye and compliment her same-shade outfit. A few of the pieces are dusted with sexuality and have revealing cuts that seem out of place in this collection.

Clearly black is the new black. This is illustrated not just in the show, but also the audience. I can only assume that this slimming and stylish colour is the unofficial uniform of London Fashion Week and I missed the memo.

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013
Photos by Alex Kessler

The models sport blue braids woven into their hair, likely a continuation of the sea theme. The make-up has a tint of David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album cover, although perhaps unintentionally.

My first taste of the exaggerated polo neck, neck-brace like concoction appears here: I see something similar in later shows too. It’s not really to my taste, after all, who wants to look like they were just in a car accident? The most redeeming feature of this show is a grey print which is sky-like and busy; I would love to see it close-up. Although initially it has a grey ‘camo’ feel, on further inspection it seems a bit more magical. The aqua of the show’s theme is also echoed in a lone member of the audience; a young man clad in bright blue trousers and a turquoise cardigan paired with neon yellow shoes. A stark contrast to the black ‘uniform’ of other attendees.

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013 by Melissa Angelik
Apu Jan LFW 2013 by Melissa Angelik

Despite the criticism, there are pieces I like in this collection, the theme is after my own heart; who doesn’t love the seaside? Blue is a calming colour after all. The big knitwear looks comfortable and I can imagine myself vegging out on the sofa wearing it. I also like the over-sized sleeves on one of the models. I love the pattern on a black and blue piece which reminds me of kimono and the colours in general make this collection aesthetically pleasing. One of the outfits feels a little air-hostess although I can’t put my finger on why. A piece I suspect of being the offending nip-slip garment is probably my fave, and manages to be both sensual and modest, although it perhaps needs some extra tailoring to prevent awkward moments! I can’t help but think that one of the cobalt blue dresses is a tad too short. Overall, the oriental style pieces are the ones I think have the most potential.

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013

Apu Jan LFW AW

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013
Photos by Jessica Cook

As this is my first show the self-conscious part of me is more worried about what I’m wearing than the models. Picking an outfit for London Fashion Week is hard work and I was forced to veer myself from my natural impulse – an ironically sported Kigu dinosaur onesie – and towards the higher-end of the wardrobe. I’m wearing Cinderella silver ballet pumps (they cost £4… shhh… noone will ever know) with black leggings that have seen one wash too many and a silver dress which is probably from Miss Selfridge but no longer has a label. This is topped off with a plain button-down black cardie (embarrassingly this is from M&S). I’m wearing earrings too. I never wear earrings. I have an expensive brown bag by Osprey that’s been everywhere with me for the last two years and is probably the only thing with me that would pass the style test. It’s a little battered though from carting around the weight of the ‘kitchen sink’ that I carry with me everywhere.

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013
Photo by Jessica Cook

They say it’s not over until the fat lady sings, but at LFW a show’s not over until the designer makes an appearance on the runway. More often than not, the designers are what you least expect; sculptured cutting-edge femme designs are revealed to be made by petite men, risqué negligees by voluptuous middle-aged redheads. This show is no exception and the Taiwanese designer makes a seemingly shy, speedy appearance with a model towering above him at the end of his debut collection. Brief and anticlimactical, it feels comforting that your expectations of the face behind a collection can be shattered. If nothing else it’s a reminder to keep your assumptions in check, both on and off the catwalk.

Apu Jan LFW AW by Alex Fernandez
Apu Jan LFW A/W 2013 by Alex Fernandez

Categories ,A/W 2013, ,Alex Kessler, ,Apu Jan, ,Fashion Scout, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Jessica Cook, ,Karolina Burdon, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Melissa Angelik, ,Nip-slip, ,Nudity, ,Petroleum, ,rca, ,Rosemary Kirton, ,Taiwanese

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Amelia’s Magazine | BIBA is BACK!

Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

BIBA, viagra 60mg illustrated by Abi Daker

It was the now legendary Barbara Hulanicki that brought Biba into the lives of so many young people.  Barbara, capsule with her husband Stephen, advice had previously run a small mail order company before opening Biba, a small boutique on Abingdon Road, South Kensington, in 1964.  It was an instant success and customers flocked to the boutique to buy clothing that was inspired by Art Nouveau and Deco designs, as well as Hollywood glamour of the 1920s and 1930s.  The interior of the shop was designed to suit the original and covetable clothes perfectly; it was ornately decorated with beautiful furniture and antiques. Hanging out at the Biba shop was the thing to do, it was the hippest place to be seen and young celebrities of the time such as Twiggy, Julie Christie and Brigitte Bardot were loyal customers.  

‘Big Biba’ illustrated by Alia Gargum

Following its quick success, Biba moved to a further two stores but it was in 1973 that it relocated to the Art Deco department store Derry’s and Toms on Kensington High Street.  Barbara and Stephen spent £1m on refurbishing the store that became known as ‘Big Biba’.  It sold everything that the contemporary household needed and desired, from furniture, food, cosmetics and other household goods, alongside Barbara’s clothing and accessory designs.  Behind the scenes, Biba had become a profitable venture and Dorothy Perkins became a large stakeholder when the company was privatised.  For Barbara and Stephen, their personal relationship with the brand had soured and they were frustrated with the lack of control that they had over the everyday running of the business. In 1975 the nationwide recession forced Big Biba to close, and the couple relocated abroad.   

In 2005, Biba was given new life under the reins of designer Bella Freud.  As creative director, Freud and the company who had bought the rights to Biba tried to capitalise on the legacy that Barbara and Stephen had left behind them.  Freud’s vision was not well received and the collection was criticised for being over priced, and lacking the spirit that Barbara had instilled in the brand.

Daisy Lowe wears Biba, illustrated by Natasha Thompson

It is now at the hands of House of Fraser that Biba has its third revival.  House of Fraser will offer three ranges; Biba, Biba Blue and Biba Boutique.  Biba Blue will carry popular denim styles, whereas Biba Boutique will offer limited edition dresses.  For this season, bang on trend, there are 11 statement maxi dresses. There will be approximately 160 pieces for the launch, and also available will be jewellery, handbags and scarves.  There is a strong contemporary feel to the collection, but sensitivity to the Biba history is clear.  The design team at House of Fraser have been busy delving into the archives and sourcing inspiration from original pieces.  For this season the collection contains maxi dresses, heavily embellished tops and dresses, metallic colours and sheer panelling.  Materials such as velvet, faux fur, marabou feathers and sequins give a nod to the original decadence and Art Deco inspiration of the brand.  With an average selling price of £100, House of Fraser aims to avoid the ‘disposable clothing’ concept that Hulanicki championed.  This does not mean, however, that the collection should be cast with the same contempt that Freud’s fell victim to.  The collection contains some fantastic offerings.  Daisy Lowe has been selected as the face of new Biba, and in one marketing shot she coquettishly wraps herself up in the must have piece of the season – the floor length leopard print faux fur coat.  Other must have items include a wine coloured velvet maxi dress and a range of marabou feather jackets. 

The new collection, illustrated by Jenny Robins

The resurrection of vintage brand Halston shows that with the right creative direction an enterprise like this can be successful.  House of Fraser CEO John King spoke recently of the requests he received from American retail giants Macy’s, Saks and Bloomingdale’s about when they were able to place orders for the Biba collection to sell in their department stores.  The interest in Biba is mammoth; it always has been.  Hulanicki’s capsule collection for Topshop was a huge triumph, but even she has closed the doors on Biba for the foreseeable future.  Available to buy in store now, perhaps it will be a case of third time lucky.

Categories ,Abi Daker, ,Alia Gargum, ,Art Deco, ,Art Nouveau, ,Barbara Hulanicki, ,Bella Freud, ,biba, ,Bloomingdales, ,boutique, ,Brigitte Bardot, ,daisy lowe, ,Glamour, ,Hollywood, ,House of Fraser, ,Jenny Robins, ,John King, ,Julie Christie, ,Macy’s, ,Natasha Thompson, ,Saks, ,South Kensington, ,twiggy

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Amelia’s Magazine | Black is the new Black- Hannah Marshall Interview

When you think of the humble pom-pom you think of children’s clothes, order buy of gigantic sombreros for tourists, generic unsightly snow boots and poodles with dodgy haircuts. Experimenting with pom-poms always seemed to be a bit like tequila shots – one was fun, two was adventurous, any more was way overboard and enough to make you gag.
NOT ANY MORE! Somebody somewhere decided it was time to wrench those pom-poms from the cheerleader’s sweaty grasp and boom! Stick them in the right places and we’re in love – and it turns out you can have hundreds of them!



They might have come to our attention bobbling out all over the catwalks in fashion week and with the high street following suit, but this is a look that could be even cheaper for the creative recessionistas amongst you. Make your own! Check it.
If you ever find yourself sat staring into space on the tube, you could be churning out a whole lot of pom-poms instead. Worn the right way I think it’s a really easy and fun accessory to jazz up an outfit– this cute Peter Jensen ring as a prime example:


We’ve seen some girls wearing them in their hair, which make a nice woolly alternative to bows, and of course the contentious scrunchie.








Don’t be wearing those in the cinema mind you.

It’s amazing that something so simple has been culturally reinterpreted so often over the course of history. That might sound grand but something that’s gone from dangling off the edges of sun hats in Central America, to being mass marketed to children all over the world to making on the Paris catwalks is pretty unique. Yikes, Pom Pom international even reckons they can promote world peace. Maybe that’s one tequila too many. Sporting them could almost seem a throwback to childhood, a fashion revival harking back to the days of hats and mittens (I’d like to say ‘and snow and toboggans’ but let’s face it, it doesn’t snow THAT often).
The last thing we can learn about pom-poms is from cheerleaders everywhere, who if nothing else, seem mind-bogglingly happy. Why? POM-POMS!
“At a T-cross-section go to the left. On your left hand you will see a hill. At the end of the hill, tadalafil on the top, this you will see a green cottage. That is where you can find me. If I am not there I might be outside doing some experiments.”
Holland’s answer to a modern day Darwin, Theo Jansen has spent the last 19 years playing god and taking evolution into his own hands. An arrogant way to spend the best part of two decades you might say, but not when you see what incredible results this passing of time has produced. Jansen’s kinetic creature creations exist in a carefully crafted overlap of art and engineering.
From a physics background to a study of painting via an interest in aeronautics and robotics Jansen arrived at 1990 with a thirst for breathing autonomous life into mechanical sculpture. What started as a highly technical computer animation program is now only reliant on the power of the wind with no machine assistance and only minimal human input required, and even that Jansen hopes to eventually phase out.
My personal attraction to what Jansen does comes from my deep seated loathing of plastic waste, which he cleverly conquers by incorporating discarded plastic bottles as part of a complicated wind energy storage system and he sources metres and metres and metres of yellow plastic tubing- 375 tubes per animal to be exact- to create the skeletons for his beautiful monsters.
He claims he started to use the plastic tubing because it was unbelievably cheap and readily available although he quickly discovered that a more perfect material for the project would be hard to find as they are both flexible and multifunctional. He draws comparisons between the plastic required in his art and the protein required for life forms. “in nature, everything is almost made of protein and you have various uses of protein; you can make nails, hair, skin and bones. There’s a lot of variety in what you can do with just one material and this is what I try to do as well.”
The heads of his giant beings act as sails, directing the intricate frames to glide gracefully across the nearby beaches to Jansen’s home and laboratory. The insect-like wings catch gusts of wind and propel the body forward. When there is no wind not even for ready money, the stored energy in the belly of the beasts can be utilized.
Jansen’s vision is of a landscape populated by herds of these sculptures taking on entire lives of their own. The versions of models that made it into existence have raced and won survival of the fittest contests through his computer program and having studied these ‘winners’ Jansen designed creatures so developed they are even capable of self preservation, burrowing themselves in the sand when the gusts are too powerful for them to use constructively.
His imagination like his Strandbeests (literally translated as ‘Beach Animal) is an ever evolving self perfecting organ. He envisions a point at which he will release his creations ‘into the wild’, which he speaks about in the same loving tone you would expect from a parent preparing their nest to be flown by their offspring. “I imagine that two animals will meet each other and compare their qualities in some way; have a demonstration somewhere on how they run and how fast they can run and also do some quality comparison on how they survive the winds. And the one with the better quality kills the other one and gives the other its own genetic code. There could be 30 animals on the beach, running around all the time, copying genetic codes. And then it would go on without me.” It’s not so far fetched after all to consider what Jansen does as god-like. He plainly and rather humbly philosophizes, “I try to remake nature with the idea that while doing this you will uncover the secrets of life and that you will meet the same problems as the real creator,” he added. Theo Jansen is simply a genius though his genius is far from simple. Amen.

It has been a while since I have found a political party that I feel that I can get behind. Politics seem to have descended into a misguided mess. Anytime I read about a Tory or Labour MP, more about it is usually because of a scandal. What is going on environmentally and economically seems to play second fiddle to infighting and lies. Meanwhile, living in East London, I have become friends with a couple of people who are involved in the Hackney Green Party. They don’t seem to lie, or cheat, or claim expenses – this is a party that I can support! I wanted to find out more about them, so I sat down for a cup of tea with Matt Hanley, who is the Green candidate for Stoke Newington Central.

Illustration by Jessica Pemberton

I really liked the political broadcast; I thought it was very astute. The message is not that we have to step outside of our comfortable lives, but that the Green Party are the only political group who can deal with the contemporary and current issues that the world is facing; both politically and environmentally.

We have changed in almost a 180-degree way, twenty years ago the stereotype was beards, sandals, pipes, hemp clothes, it was almost like lecturing the public – it was unsophisticated. Twenty years ago was what, 1989? Scientists for the first time had come to an agreement that climate change was happening, and that it appeared to be man made. I guess when that news was first out there; people were like ‘look, its GOT to change’. Now we are a bit savvier. We have to present policies which are palatable to the voting public; there is no point in standing on the side lines and finger wagging, if we present a policy which will save money but drive down carbon emissions – that is what we are all about. I see the environment agenda of the Green Party very much subset of our core goal, which is social justice. Everything we do, we put the welfare of the human being at the very core. If they are not benefiting from our policies then… I don’t want to know…. that is what the Green Party stands for. So we work for human rights, LGBT rights, promoting the local economy, promoting local business, right though to reducing carbon emissions, they are all under this umbrella of social justice. We are providing a very electable platform, which will improve people’s lives. We are a very well run political party with extremely good innovative ideas to get ourselves out of this economic mess and we are also challenging climate change and enabling our communities to do the same and preparing ourselves for peak oil.

There have been a many protests organised recently, a lot of people who have never protested before are taking to the streets. What is the Green Party’s stance on direct action?

We are the political wing of the New Social Movement; we are the only party who advocate non-violent direct action. The Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, is probably the only leader with a criminal record, she has been arrested at a nuclear base up in Scotland. We support legitimate protest. There is a place for the protesting, and a place for the parliamentary process. So we are the elected wing of the protest movement.

Illustration by Aarron Taylor

Other parties don’t like their protesters do they?

Absolutely not, they just want you to nod along. Like good citizens, nod along like The Churchill Dog! (Laughs)

For people who have only heard of Hackney and have not been here, the first words that would come to mind would not be “sustainability”, “communities” or “grow your own”, but plenty of people are living by these ideals here and there is actually quite a healthy sized green movement in Hackney….

There is a massive opportunity for a green movement here, and massive support for us. It is unbelievable. In the last elections, the Greens reached second or third in every single ward in Hackney.

And you have a good relationship with Transition Town Hackney as well?

Yes, but they are completely different organisations. The Transition Town movement doesn’t want to be in the thrall of the political party. We definitely support the parties and their principles. We are all about a localised economy, we should be able to feed ourselves, produce our own energy, and I should be able to send my kid to the local school. The Transition Town model is about preparing for the onslaught of climate change and equipping communities for that transition, and that is also what the Greens are all about.

Can you see Hackney functioning well under a Green Party council?

Absolutely! They are doing it in Lewisham at the moment, which is a similar demography. They are doing all these fantastic things, for example, they have set a system up where you can go to the library and hire energy reading meters which you can take home and fix into your energy meter and this allows you to do an audit of your energy usage. I definitely want to see this launched in Hackney. It’s an innovative, creative way of thinking. It’s about putting sustainability at the core of everything, which also saves lots and lots of money!

I see The Green Party as being very accessible to young people as well.

The average age of people joining is mid to late 20′s. They are not wedded to 20th century politics, a lot of older labour supporters can’t bring themselves to leave. We have the same agenda that Labour did, back when they were good Labour. Only we can add the environmental agenda. We stand up for peace. We stand up for nuclear disarmament, no other party does that. We want public services to stay public. We want to renationalise the railways – the cost of rail tickets hits young people very, very hard. Younger people can see that we are standing up to big businesses, supporting local shops, and standing up for individuals. We have a whole plethora of progressive policies……..

Illustration by Aarron Taylor

And also The Green Party a very media savvy bunch – you are on Facebook, you organise lots of activities….

Absolutely! In fact next week we are going paintballing – ‘Paintballing for Peace’

(Laughs) What other way is there to find peace?

(Laughs), and we are going on a Hackney Greens bike ride down to Brighton, we are organising a summer solstice away down to the coast. And we go on alternative pub-crawls. (Laughs)

Speaking of young people, Matt, you are 30 years old and you are standing for Stoke Newington Council for next May. What prompted this move?

I don’t like politicians – they are all the same, especially with what is going on with news about their expenses at the moment.
Working for the Green Party, and seeing the good that they are doing, I thought, you have to step up. I know that I can do a good job. Labour are failing miserably both in Hackney and in the country. The Conservatives are the same, the Liberal Democrats are no different, and so as a Green, you just have to step up.

What will you do if you won and had the power to implement any idea? What’s the first thing that you would do?

Free insulation! It’s a scheme that stems from European legislation, which states that energy companies are obliged to give a certain percentage to energy efficiency schemes. But the councils have to apply for that. The Green Party in Kirklees is on the local council, so every single person in Kirklees gets free insulation. It drives down energy costs, and drives down the carbon emissions and creates local jobs, so it’s a win win situation. Why every single council on the country is getting on this I don’t know. It saves everyone money, make peoples homes warmer, make them healthier – it stops people going to NHS with colds and flu and also reinvigorates the local economy by producing jobs. It creates a programme of very sustainable jobs. We tried to implement it before, but the Labour Councellors called it ‘daft’, dismissed it out of hand and didn’t give a reason beyond that!

That doesn’t make any sense!

The Labour and Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats are on the wrong side of history, but there is a new movement, and it takes into account the Green Party, Transition Town and Friends Of The Earth…. Amnesty International, trade unions, CND etc and all these community grass routes organisations. This is a wonderful new social movement that can be called green with a small g and is a new paradigm of social and political engagement…. this is what the 21st Century is coming to now, but the three big parties are still clinging onto the coat tails of 20th Century ideology. This whole new multifaceted social movement (of which the Green Party are the political wing) is the new politics of the 21st century.

Illustration by Faye Katirai

Can you tell us the best changes that we can make to our lives to make our world more sustainable?

Number one is vote Green! Although I don’t want to lecture people about being ” eco trendy”. Eco trendiness and eco consumption is not going to sort this mess out. We need strong government action to allow this country to change to a sustainable economy. But back to things that you can do as an individual: don’t use your car as much. Don’t eat as much meat. Cut down, you don’t have to stop eating meat completely, just don’t buy from supermarkets. Stop shopping at supermarkets altogether, because that is killing the environment, and your local towns. Support your local shops instead.

Wise words! Thanks Matt.
While the rest of us spent the winter windblown and wet-toed, viagra knitwear designer Craig Lawrence was dreaming of a resort escape, prostate with all the bells and whistles. And what hard earned sunburn doesn’t deserve to be soothed by an embarrassingly oversized tropical drink with all the tacky accoutrements. And ‘splash’ inspiration is born! Those fanciful toxic colored fishbowls of liquor with their cascading garnishes were all the visual inspiration Craig needed to create his first collection since graduating from St.Martins last July. Knitted up with satin ribbons and swirling metal yarn, the knitwear newcomer’s sugar sweet confections made it to Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s runways and onto the lips of the fashion heavies.


I understand sweets and cocktails were the inspirations for your recent collection. What are some of your favorites?
After my degree collection for St.Martins I needed a bit of time to catch my breath so when I started designing again it was winter…cold and grey. I was eating sweets in my studio and daydreaming of beaches and tropical drinks. Some of my favorite things are peach daiquiris, parma violets. My favorite sweet is probably chewy toffee and favorite drink is that fizzy orange drink irn-bru.
What do you recall as the first piece of knitwear you ever made?
A wooly, salmon colored scarf that I actually lost on the train. That and an awful grey ruched square-shaped polyester thing I had to make for my A levels.
If given the chance to collaborate with anyone who would you have in mind?
I’ve always thought of doing pieces for a more theatrical environment. I would love to work with Slava Snowshow.


You recently worked with stylist Katie Shillingford on a shoot for your recent collection. There’s so much movement in those images which really brings your knits to life, how did you manage to capture that?
I’d wanted dancing and movement but the studios’ ceilings were too low and they were all too expensive. So we brought a 9 ft family size trampoline to a rooftop overlooking the city and had the girls bouncing up and down on it. A bit risky actually as there was really not much there to stop them from going over if we weren’t careful. We did the hair and make up at home with the help of my boyfriend and flatmates, one of which is a model, which definitely helps when you need someone for fittings.
Did you start out interested in knit or did you find your way to it while studying fashion?
Actually, I wanted to do menswear while I was at London College of Fashion, by the time I got to St.Martins they encouraged me to do knit because they saw that all my stuff to that point had been designed in jersey. And I loved the chunky quality of knit.


I hear you managed to do the impossible and actually design 6 seasons of knitwear for Gareth Pugh, while doing your BA, AND working a retail job once a week. How were you able to do that and how many of yourself did you have to clone?
I was in school at the time and had knitted a scarf for a friend who’s flatmate wore it on a date with Gareth, who mentioned he was looking for a knitwear designer. He got in touch and said he needed to have pieces made up in a week. So it was all quite fast. All that while doing my BA degree and working in the stock room at John Lewis on Saturday mornings, sometimes having to be there at 6 am. You get used to not sleeping.
And a year after graduating you were showing at Vauxhall Fashion Scout?
My PR agency BLOW called me up a week before the show and said they had an opening for me, so I made up some accessories and a few pieces to fill out the collection I’d been working on. I was given a team of hair and make up artists and we were off.


Which comes first for you, the yarn or the garment?
Usually the textiles come first for me. I’ve learned alot about them along the way, like for example needing to use a flat knit for tight fitting garments.
Are there any textiles, practical or not that you’re really keen to use?
I’d like to do something with little leather strips or pvc something shiny and bright. Maybe even strips of diamante.
What is one of the more random things you’ve used to knit with?
You know those yellow rubber gloves used for washing up/ i found a guy in Dalston Market selling a gaint roll of it and bought it. I cut it up into tiny little strips and started knitting it up but as a garment it was incredibly heavy and totally unweareble.
Could you give us a peek into the inspirations for your next collection?
At the moment I’m interested in accessories, chenille, and fireworks!
Look out! That is some recipe. Craig Lawrence wants to expand our minds and preconceptions, to push knitwear into places we’d least expect it. Can’t wait to see what Molotov cocktail awaits us next season!

Prepare yourself for copious amounts of black eye liner as this week sees us take an awe-inspiring look at one of London’s fashion firmament Hannah Marshall. A rapidly establishing icon Marshall has been injecting a healthy dose of rock and roll back onto our catwalks since her break through debut in 2007.

I tracked down Hannah to find out more about this talented lady


How are you doing? It’s a lovely sunny day in London; hope your enjoying the sunshine?

I have escaped from London to work from home today in the beautiful Essex countryside; the weather is beautiful here too.

Take me through life since you’re A/W 09 collection showcased at London Fashion Week?

The Autumn/Winter 2009 collection ‘Armour’ was shown at London Fashion Week as part of the New Generation exhibition sponsored by Top Shop. In addition, store I did my first presentation at the On|Off space with Ipso Facto in the Science Museum. The collection was also shown in Paris and New York and there has been a very positive reaction with UK and International press and buyers alike. Since fashion week, ed I have started working on more music collaborations, approved which is really exciting.


Your one of the few designers I have come across that you really get the sense that your personal style plays prominence in your designs, would you agree?

I think it’s important to practice what you preach, and at the end of the day I am designing what I want to wear, that I believe isn’t out there already. I am obsessed with black, shoulder pads and eyebrows. My brand is an extension of me and my aesthetic and vision, which is about empowering women through clothing.

Every girl needs her staple black dress, for me anyway there is a sort of salvation and self-assurance in black clothing, would you agree?

When I design, I design in black. It’s the strongest and most powerful colour there is. Black is the perfect tone to create bold and interesting silhouettes with. For me, the iconic Little Black dress is the epitome of timeless clothing and is the wardrobe staple that is exudes a powerful elegance, authority and quiet confidence. When I launched my label in 2007, I just showed 12 black dresses – for me, a black dress is all you need.


What would you say stimulates you to create your collections?

This season the Hannah Marshall woman wears her own suit of armour. Her body is encased in steel line panels, protected with angular breastplates, concealed with pronounced contours and shielded with moulded hips. This body armour concept allows pieces to offer the illusion of strength and lend the wearer a sense of security.

My design philosophy stems from my continuing obsession with the human form and bodily contours, resulting in carefully orchestrated designs that fit to perfection, inspired insect exoskeletons references such as the beetle’s armoured shell, mimicked through protective interconnecting segments. Black takes the main stage once again, in contrasting and tactile fabrics to create a second skin concealing what lies beneath. The introduction of caviar- look stingray, luxurious stretch velvet and taught elastic is added to my ritual butter soft leathers and lustrous stretch silks

I know it’s a generic question, but which designers out their would you
pinpoint as inspirations?

I am obsessed by Thierry Mugler and the super tailored, sexy designs from the 80′s period. I love the minimalism of Jill Sander in the 90′s and appreciate the sculptural shapes from Japanese designers like Yohji Yamamoto.

You utilise black very heavily within your work, would you say “black is
the new black?’

Always – black is irreplaceable and will always be around throughout each season.

I know you’re enthused by music, you recently used Ipso Facto as muses for you’re A/W 09 collection, which other bands blast out of your headphones?

Ipso Facto of course, as well as The Kills, Iggy Pop, Skunk Anansie, The Black Keys, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Florence & The Machine, Prince, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Nirvana, Siouxie & The Banshees, and more…

If you could work with any iconic figure from the past, who would you choose any why?

Cristobal Balenciaga – pure genius.


Do you have any advice for budding designers eager to break into the fashion sphere?

Believe in yourself, otherwise how can you expect others too. Also, I would advise any young designers to get a mentor and do their ground work.


The more that I delve into the world of Hannah Marshall the further in awe I become. Marshall creates collections that are not merely appreciated as catwalk objects, she creates pieces that tap into every woman’s subconscious. Her Designs follow a distinctive aesthetic, beautifully crafted with architectural precision but with a sensibility that just screams wearability.


I think on a subconscious level we are all black aficionados, when your endlessly trawling the deepest realms of the wardrobe on those bleary eyed mornings, what brings us the utmost in self-assurance and feistiness? Without a doubt it is the quintessential little black dress that consoles all dilemmas. Its been engrained into our sub conscious, think avante garde, think Audrey Hepburn. The back dress prevails time, it still retains the same stylish potency now as ever. Regardless of occasion Its my one true ally admist the abysses of print and colour that can often just make the head spin. Blacks connotates effortless dominance, sexiness and style.


So watch out world we have a new queen of darkness on our hands!

(images supplied by Victor De Mello)

Categories ,Black, ,Fashion, ,Hannah Marshall, ,Interview, ,London Fashion Week, ,Rock and Roll

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Amelia’s Magazine | Festival Preview: Aeon Festival 2010

AEON Fest by Faye West
AEON Fest by Faye West
Illustration by Faye West.

This will be my third year at Aeon, ailment and for me it’s been a wonderful, treat stress-free experience, no queues, suffocating crowds or over-priced disgusting burgers. It describes itself as a ‘Shoestring Boutique festival’ and is set in the beautiful surroundings in mid Devon. A grassy amphitheatre precedes the main stage which sits on the edge of a lake, you are able to camp under the trees and gather around wood burners with friends and strangers. There is no sponsorship or big branding so it’s one of the most naturally visually pleasing festivals around and there’s something about this festival which has a very simplistic charm which embodies what a music festival only really needs to be – friends, music and fresh air.

There are lots of sweet put-together events that take place throughout the day. Last year I was very tempted by the Speed Date plus free meal for a fiver, a hair fascination workshop and a wood cutting class so that you can whittle down your very own wooden spoon from a branch, but of course was too busy frequenting the bar and resting on the grass whilst soaking up the surrounds. I was however encouraged to take part in the bubble wrap race. Once I was wrapped head to toe in bubble wrap, I thought as we all lay there like grubs that I was in for some kind of relaxing spa treatment. Unfortunately we were asked to try and get to our feet, and race each other round a tree and back. I was just left slumped on the floor, immobile from laughter.

Bubble Wrap Racing Aeon Faye West
Bubble wrap racing at Aeon. Photography by Faye West.

I managed to catch the super busy founder of the fest, Niki Portus for a few words whilst the count down for Aeon is on.

Aeon is in it’s 5th year this August, and I know that festivals tend to change quite a bit every year as crowds get bigger and organisers think up new ways to run an efficient festival. Sometimes this is for the worst! What were your goals for organising this year’s Aeon, and was there much you wanted to change or improve on from last year?

I’m a great believer in if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! I think we have a pretty good formula that seems to work and people really like the laid back feel of it all. We had to put the ticket price up this year which was really hard to get my head round but we’ve expanded on production and line up to reflect that – I think it has been more important though to improve on areas where we know we had problems.

We had a big debrief meeting straight after last year and the main area I wanted to get right was the camping as it filled up very quickly last year and was pretty rowdy. So this year we have added an extra area for noisy camping right next to the main site and kept family camping in the old area away from the rowdy bunch. Some of the programming needed adapting a bit but mostly it’s about us wanting to put on a good show and keep it fun for everyone as well as the element of a few surprises. I guess it’s about being realistic about accommodating natural growth as the word spreads, such as having more loos, better fencing and more security but not so it’s in your face. Little background things that cost more money but can make a big difference to the experience for people.

The main thing about Aeon for me is that it has always been about independent artists and strictly no sponsorship or outside funding – the first year was me taking out a small bank loan and maxing the credit cards but I’ve paid the loan off now *lol* and one day I might actually pay off the credit cards! The festival has sustained itself though for the past 4 years on ticket income and by running our own bar on site so it seems to work. I think people like the fact that we’re home grown – it’s very much like a big family now.

Aeon Ampitheatre Faye West

What do you think it is about Aeon that makes it so special and magical? And are you still achieving what you set out to do?

I have no idea! But we have an amazing crew who come up with all sorts of great ideas and are very creative. I think whilst I never thought it would get this far when I first set out on this journey I do feel its stuck to it’s original goal – that’s something I feel very strongly inside but it’s hard to explain! For me personally it’s definitely a love affair – I’ve don’t draw a salary or wage and if I manage to pay myself back for even something like my phone bill it’s a small miracle.

We’re pretty low key with our publicity as I’m always scared of over hyping things. It’s like ‘wow this is the best festival in the world ever’ well no actually it’s one of over 500 festivals in the country and everyone has their favourites for different reasons – you can’t please all the people all the time and there will always be one or two who think it’s crap, that’s just human nature. You see it all over the forums and I always think ‘god please don’t let that be us’ but you can’t control it. Freedom of speech and all that. This is the first year we will possibly have some ‘proper’ festival press on site – I’m terrified they’ll be rude!

Girls Aeon by Faye West
Illustration by Faye West.

Aeon is a wonderfully afordable festival compared to many others. Is it difficult keeping the cost down, and if so do you think the big festies such as Glastonbury are overpriced?

To the first question – in a word – yes – it’s very difficult keeping costs down! Just the little things like having a full time accountant now all adds up behind the scenes. But I don’t think you can compare it to the likes of Glastonbury – the production that goes in to that one is awe inspiring – in fact The History of Glastonbury is like my bible *lol* I find the stories from behind the scenes really heart warming and you know as an organisation they have set the bench mark for all events – their management structure and Health & Safety awareness is amazing. I like the concept of ’boutique festivals’ though – hence our tongue in cheek ‘shoestring boutique’ moniker.

Equally though there is only so much one person can do in a day and for most people special times involve having a laugh with a group of friends not standing in queues for toilets or over priced warm beers, or spending hours hunting for your friends because you went off on a drunken ramble. That said there are two sorts of people – those who go to festivals and those who work at festivals. All my friends who work at festivals prefer it when they’re behind the scenes making stuff happen.

I do really feel as well that just throwing money at something doesn’t make a party and personally I get a kick from doing things on a tight budget. The crew know I’m tight as a gnat’s arse! We’ve got some awesome artists this year for a really good price and I think part of the reason is the agents know we’re doing it all for the right reasons. It’s not about the big headliners for us – it’s about showcasing the underground well regarded stuff that if you know your music makes you go ‘wow that’s cool’ and if you don’t you know you can take a chance and see something you wouldn’t normally see and it’ll be really good. I did contact a couple of agents about some bigger acts this year out of curiosity to see how much it would be and they were like ‘Aeon who?’

Keeping the balance between family friendly and cool party is in the top 5 of my list of requirements for definite. As a single parent I want to know my son is safe.

Shobrook Park Aeon
Shobrooke Park Estate, Crediton – where Aeon is held.

Aeon takes place in a beautiful part of Devon. It appears to be a very eco-friendly event, is this something important to you, and if so has this been an easy practice to take on?

Honestly? I think it can be easy to over hype being ‘Green’ and in fact not take into account how important it is to support the local economy. I live in a little village on Dartmoor and work at the local preschool there – my family have been there over 30 years so we see firsthand how rural economies struggle and last year I joined a committee to build and start up a village shop after our one was closed down.

At the festival it’s therefore important we use local traders and cafes and encourage them to source locally. There are various community groups from Crediton who run things and fund raise on site as well. We struggled with our recycling last year but this year we have a proper green team on board to take the pressure off us on site and the company we use for our skips has their own processing plant just up the road from the festival site that recycles 85% of stuff. The policies behind landfill are actually really strict these days. We dish out bin bags to everyone and encourage them to take care of the park but in reality we live in a disposable culture that drives me up the wall. I think this isn’t helped by festivals being very fashionable at the moment and companies doing cheap deals on tents and welly boots means that many punters still feel they can leave stuff behind even at small festivals like ours. It’s definitely getting worse for events and certainly puts costs up. We encourage car sharing as well and this year are trying out Festival Coaches to see if a shuttle service from Exeter works too.


Last year I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a larger festival, ensuring I got to see some bands I had always wanted to see. I’m not sure if I am just getting old, or maybe not so rock and roll, but I certainly didn’t enjoy this experience as much as I used to. I got angry at the shear masses kicking up dust, mile long queues to simply refill bottles of water and spending stupid money on horrible food (apart from the tea and toast van, which became my staple). Because others had let us all down by creating fires and explosions with gas canisters, gas stoves had been banned and it was impossible to do any proper camp cooking.

So, when Aeon swung round towards the end of last summer – just as most people were getting over festie camping and portoloos – I surprised myself again with how much I enjoyed the weekend as a whole. There was just no effort or stress involved and it felt like a massive garden party. Although there wasn’t any particular headlining act I had travelled miles to see, the bands were all so easy going and cheerful that everyone danced with the same enthusiam as if hearing their favourite ever song. In fact I shredded my new wellies from all the hopping and jumping. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I might do a way with shoes this year and hop about on the grass underfoot instead. Fancy joining me?

The facebook group for Aeon can be found here. Our listing post can be found here.

Categories ,Aeon Festival, ,boutique, ,Devon, ,Faye West, ,festival, ,glastonbury, ,Niki Portus, ,Speed Date

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