Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Menswear Day Presentation Review: U.Mi-1

U.Mi-1 S/S 2012 by Gareth A Hopkins

Walking through the hallowed halls of the Freemasons’ building, salve I couldn’t help but think I was actually appearing in an episode of BBC One’s Spooks. Heals clip-clopped on marble flooring, cialis 40mg echoing around the grandiose interior, help darkened wood, glass cabinets filled with associated paraphernalia. I couldn’t shake the feeling I was actually there to meet with the Home Secretary; that Harry Pearce was lingering somewhere in the shadows. He wasn’t, of course, he’s fictional; and I was dressed *way* too good to be doing such silly business as saving the world from terrorists.

Instead, for this presentation by menswear label U.Mi-1, the room we were in was filled not with MI5 Suits, but with boys wearing oversized-blazers, and girls who all seemed to have more-hair-than-clothes; all clutching man-bags or purses, cameras, notepads and complimentary herb-infused juice drinks. I’ve no idea why they were ‘herb-infused’. One assumes it was to give the idea that they were laced with vodka. It worked.

All photography by Matt Bramford

Upstairs, on the first floor, in the room we had converged in, was a presentation that felt more like a piece of theatre than it did a fashion show. Divided into two rooms, the first was lit only by the light from a projector on the wall; while the over-zealous pouring of the aforementioned juice drinks gave a heavy, over-burdened incense-like smell to the proceedings.

U-Mi.1 S/S 2012 by Rukmunal Hakim

The projector reel showed images two models at one time against a white wall. Standing side by side, the two boys would interact, not so much with each other but with their clothes: laughing as they pulled at button holes, braces, hemlines and creases, before changing to two new boys in two new outfits.

In the second, brighter room, the same models were present, only this time in the flesh and frozen: scattered across the back of the room to create a tableau of gorgeous fellas. This only heightened the theatricality of the event, thanks in part to the fact that the growing crowd (us included) were standing around the models as if there were a barrier between us and them: them on a stage, us an audience.

It wasn’t until, as we pulled out our camera, easily the biggest one there (size matters), that some man with a clipboard informed us we could get closer and the rigidness of the event shifted into something more real: journalists writing notes, models moving from one statuesque pose to another. And we lead the way, pioneers that we are. We twice contemplating striking a frozen pose in the centre of the room, hoping that revellers of the collection might confuse us for an eighth model.

The collection on offer was mostly made up of muted colours and pastel shades, simple lines and classic cuts. At one point I saw a girl jot down The Great Gatsby as a footnote, but she’d obviously never read F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s classic: these boys weren’t Jay Gatsby, they were the boys in Brideshead, dipped in sepia tones and burnt sienna, like something from a Sofia Coppola movie. Seams had been piped in contrasting colours, discreet checks were teamed with pale pastels and styled with thick-rimmed glasses and brown leather loafers.

Outside, still caught up in the spring-like warmth of the collection, my PA duties to Matt Bramford had drawn to a close. I could’ve lingered all day, only he then actually started calling me Alex Forrest (Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction) and I had to bid adieu to Fashion Week for another year; all Brideshead illusions truly shattered.

Categories ,Alex Forest, ,Brideshead Revisited, ,checks, ,F. Scott Fitzgerald, ,Fatal Attraction, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Glenn Close, ,Gozi, ,Harry Pearce, ,London Fashion Week, ,Matt Bramford, ,menswear, ,MenswearSS12, ,MI5, ,Piping, ,Presentation, ,review, ,Rukmunal Hakim, ,S/S 2012, ,Sofia Coppola, ,Spooks, ,Suits, ,tailoring, ,The Great Gatsby, ,U.Mi-1, ,Vauxhall Fashion Scout

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

Illustration by Jaymie O’ Callaghan

He’s the long-standing fashion designer that, information pills website despite his teeny tiny height, shop you could spot a mile away. Much like his clothes, really. A spot-on show with a dark soundtrack, breath-taking texture and an etheral beauty about the whole thing. This was John Rocha A/W 2011…

The queues to clamber into the BFC catwalk space were pretty epic. It was more of a crowd than a queue! Upon taking my seat, I began to regret wearing layers due to sauna temperatures and not enough space around me to take off my leather jacket. People were literally using the programs as fans to cool themselves. REALLY. Not so glamorous. THE Blogging Power-Couple, Scott Schuman and Garance Dore, sat themselves on the front row along with Susie Bubble (of course) and Alexandra Schulman, Editor of Vogue UK. And then came Hilary Alexander in her signature fur hat (*growl*) who sat RIGHT there in front of me – oh the excitement. She had a good look around her, peering over the top of her glasses as she does, exchanged a few words with fellow Times writers and then sat quietly waiting for showtime.

Illustration by Mina Bach

And here we go! Alas, after spotting Neil Young’s Harvest Moon as John Rocha’s inspiration on the program I was half expecting Old Man on the playlist. Ah well. Instead some heavy dark beats a la Stone Roses boomed across the catwalk as the first model took to the runway, in black black black and a MASSIVE head piece. Most models were baring these great creations that looked like a jamaican man’s dreadlocks tied up in a heap with wool knitted into it and a ton of volumising hairspray thrown in. PHEW. How these girls were managing that AND high heels, i don’t know.

The girls’ hair were styled in sweet little braids with slick, neatly parted roots. With that and all the textures of wool and fur (*more growls*) and what appeared to be silk chiffon, I was beginning to get a rustic, hippy and elvish feel with a suitable addition of elegance. People living in wood shacks in a snowy forest sprang to mind. NATURE sprang to mind.

Model of the moment, Abbey Lee, graced the spotlight towering high and elegant above many of the male models and sporting a dread-lock-esque headpiece herself! After a series of floor skimming gothic-looking gowns, it was time for some colour injection with browns, creams and bold under-skirt splashings of bold red, including a big painted tribal design that followed the hem of a floor-length skirt. It was a show full of twists and turns and surprises.

The lights dimmed and there was a moment of stillness before John Rocha, hand placed on chest as if deeply emotional with gratitude, led all models and creations up and down the catwalk, linking arms with Abbey Lee. She bent down to kiss him on the cheek infront of the cameras before he rushed off stage, clapping the audience saying thank you. A gracious finale to a glorious show!

Photographs by Georgia Takacs
LFW Paul Costelloe AW2011 by Krister Selin
Paul Costelloe by Krister Selin

And it’s off! In fact it was Paul Coselloe that kicked off the eponymous London Fashion Week for AW11 and he didn’t disappoint. Well how could he with Janice Dickinson on the front row! With a modernised version of “In The Mood” as his soundtrack he sent his daughter down the catwalk to start the show in a loving fatherly way. Aww sweet. But I digress; lets get back to the clothes: mini dresses in bright pink hues, this glitzy jacquard mixed with bobbed pink wigs and very wearable men’s suits were the call of the morning interspersed with some mustard suits and patterned palazzo pants. The opening look was a quartet of emerald green swing dresses, ambulance a style Costelloe is famous for and knows he does well. And its safe to say (after New York Fashion Week too) that Mulberry, story and its various guises, is the colour to be seen in. Teamed with oversized checks and damson tights its perfect for next Autumn moving on from the 70s colours of Summer. It looks like the earthy tones are here to stay but this time there’s more to them than variations on beige.

LFW Paul Costelloe AW2011 by Krister SelinIllustration by Krister Selin

On the side Costelloe has mused about designing airline uniforms (is there really a desire to that?) and the not so subtle hint in his collection was perhaps the boxy swing suits with bracelet sleeves and flirty mini skirts. Who knows maybe we’ll see the staff of BA sashaying down the walk way in a Paul Costelloe burnt orange suit set. Then again maybe not quite what he had in mind…. in all seriousness though congratulations to Costelloe who has opened LFW for his 10th year and still brings wearable pieces straight off the catwalk that still have a fashion appeal. What a perfect opening to a very busy week, and of course Janice Dickenson waving to her friend as he took his bow was a not so subtle closer.

All illustrations by Krister Selin and more of his work can be found in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Categories ,Amelia’s Magazine, ,AW11, ,checks, ,Daughter, ,father, ,hanice dickinson, ,London Fashion Week, ,opening show, ,Paul Costelloe, ,pink, ,Somerset House, ,Tweed

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