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 | An interview with jewellery designer and gemologist expert Milena Kovanovic

Milena Kovanovic by Laura Hickman
Milena Kovanovic by Laura Hickman.

I was blown away by the unusual jewels of Milena Kovanovic when I first discovered her at The Craft Market last year, curated by Megan Taylor as part of Tent London during the 2012 London Design Festival. It’s taken me awhile to catch up with this Central Saint Martins graduate, gemologist and self confessed hoarder, who explores ideas of science and antiquity to create her unique designs – but I didn’t forget her. Her new Ursula’s Hoard Collection features rough precious gems such as Lapis Lazuli, Carnelian and Baroque Pearls set in swathes of bubbled gold, all inspired by the potential spoils of a sunken galleon: forgotten gems that Milena Kovanovic imagines lie encrusted in coral reefs on the depths of the ocean floor. Customers with a very healthy budget can commission from her high end Luxe Reef collection, featuring even more exotic jewels. I spoke to Milena about her inspiration, design process and knowledge as a qualified gemologist.

Tent London Oct 2012-Milena Kovanovic gem
Tent London Oct 2012-Milena Kovanovic
Spessartine Garnet and Smokey Quartz necklace from the Krystalline collection. Discovered at Tent London 2012.

When did you first realise that you wanted to be a jewellery designer, and what has been the best thing about following this career path?
I came across jewellery design whilst doing my art and design foundation course, really enjoyed working in metal and decided I’d apply to the degree course after my tutor convinced me I’d be perfect for it. It must have been fate as I used to make jewellery as a teenager and sell it at Greenwich Market to earn some extra cash, though I never considered it as a career at the time. The best thing about following this career path is that it encompasses all the things I love – making and gems and minerals.

Milena Kovanovic Ursula's Hoard red gems
What was the best bit about studying at CSM?
For me the best part about studying at CSM was the freedom you got to explore and experiment within your degree course. It also have one of the best libraries for books and materials that is an invaluable resource for any designer.

Milena Kovanovic Jewelry by Veronica Rowlands
Milena Kovanovic Jewellery by Veronica Rowlands.

The Ursula’s Hoard collection features gems that are encrusted with molten gold that looks like coral – how did you achieve this effect?
I enjoy exploring new processes and techniques in my work, so for my last two collections I have been doing a lot of electroforming. This is a process which uses an electrical current to take metal in a solution and deposit/grow it onto the surface of whatever you want. This method was perfect for the Ursula’s Hoard collection as I wanted the pieces to look like they’d been under the sea for centuries, becoming encrusted in barnacles and corals.

Milena Kovanovic Ursula's Hoard La Belle Ring
La Belle Ring.

Where do you go for inspiration when you start designing a new collection?
Inspiration can come from anywhere, it’s all around us. I’m very visual and take a lot of photographs of things that catch my eye, especially focusing on the details. Sometimes it can be from something I’ve read or an exhibition I’ve seen. I also love to travel which is a great influence for new ideas.

Milena Kovanovic Ursula's Hoard Golden Hind Necklace
Golden Hind Necklace.

Where did you study and how long did it take you to become a qualified gemologist?
I trained as a gemmologist at the Gemmological Association of Great Britain in Hatton Garden. They have a fast track course which combines the foundation and diploma into a 1 year full time programme, which is what I did.

Milena Kovanovic Ursula's Hoard rings
What amazing and little known gemological fact can you share with us?
The gemstone Tourmaline is pyroelectric – meaning that when it is rubbed or heated, it will develop a static charge that attracts lightweight particles to its surface like dust. This effect could be one probable source of it’s name, which originates from the Sinhalese word Turmali which means both “coloured stone” and “attractor of ashes“.

Milena Kovanovic Ursula's Hoard Mayflower Ring
Mayflower Ring.

What are your favourite kind of gems to work with?
That’s a tough one, there are so many it’s hard to choose! I’m really drawn to vibrant coloured gems such as Rubellites, Spessartine Garnets and Emeralds to name but a few. The gems are always the starting point from which I will create a piece of jewellery as they usually inform the design.

Milena Kovanovic Ursula's Hoard earrings
How and when are you able to use your gemological expertise these days? (apart from in jewellery design)
I regularly utilise my gemmological knowledge to source and supply gemstones for clients and trade, as well as offering specialised training in gemstones and jewellery production to staff in retail businesses.

I can’t wait to see what the talented Milena Kovanovic designs next. Visit her website here to explore her wonderful world of gems.

Categories ,2012, ,Baroque Pearls, ,Carnelian, ,Central Saint Martins, ,electroforming, ,Emerald, ,Gemmological Association of Great Britain, ,Gemologist, ,Gems, ,Golden Hind Necklace, ,Greenwich Market, ,Hatton Garden, ,jewellery, ,Krystalline, ,La Belle Ring, ,Lapis Lazuli, ,Laura Hickman, ,London Design Festival, ,Luxe Reef, ,Mayflower Ring, ,Megan Taylor, ,Milena Kovanovic, ,pyroelectric, ,Rubellite, ,Sinhalese, ,Spessartine Garnet, ,Spessartine Garnet and Smokey Quartz necklace, ,Tent London, ,The Craft Market, ,Tourmaline, ,Turmali, ,Ursula’s Hoard Collection, ,Veronica Rowlands

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Amelia’s Magazine | Celebrating 10 Years of Amelia’s Magazine: the launch party for That Which We Do Not Understand

TWWDNU launch 2014-chains
On Thursday 11th December we celebrated the launch of That Which We Do Not Understand, the book and prints, with a special invite only party at the Tatty Devine shop on Brick Lane. It was a chance for the contributors and special launch backers to meet each other, with many travelling from around the country to attend. Both Harriet and Rosie of Tatty Devine joined us for the night and the cosy shop was packed. Please click on the video below for a taster of the night.

A video posted by Tatty Devine (@tattydevine) on

TWWDNU launch,Rosie,Amelia,Harriet
TWWDNU book 2014-gold foil
TWWDNU LAUNCH 2014-jenny robins
TWWDNU LAUNCH 2014-laurawilson
TWWDNU launch 2014-SophandAmelia
TWWDNU launch 2014-exhibition
TWWDNU LAUNCH 2014-ruthbridges
TWWDNU LAUNCH 2014-olivia rose
TWWDNU LAUNCH 2014-jackdeacon_adamcorns
TWWDNU launch 2014-wall
TWWDNU LAUNCH 2014-lucy davies
TWWDNU LAUNCH 2014-guests
TWWDNU LAUNCH 2014-maiafjord
TWWDNU LAUNCH 2014-EmilyandBunty
TWWDNU LAUNCH 2014-guests2
Guests drunk wine and gorgeous fresh juices from Lovage: Emerald (kale, celery, cucumber, pear and fennel), Gold (apple, sweet potato, ginger, red pepper) and Ruby (beetroot, carrot, apple, cabbage). For nibbles we had festive spiced biscuits and Popchips, delicious healthy crisps.

TWWDNU launch 2014-popchips
The exhibition is now open until the 5th of January, so do pop by and see the prints, which are resplendent with gold leaf. See my full listing for more details!

With thanks to Tim and Zakia for their photographs.

Categories ,Emerald, ,Gold, ,Lovage, ,Popchips, ,Ruby, ,Tatty Devine, ,That Which We Do Not Understand

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