Amelia’s Magazine | Interview: Fashion designer Ziad Ghanem introduces new S/S 2014 Couture Collection “HELL O”

Ziad Ghanem S/S 2014 by Claire Kearns

Ziad Ghanem S/S 2014 by Claire Kearns.

We really missed culture couturier Ziad Ghanem on the catwalk last season so I am really pleased to exclusively introduce his new S/S 2014 Couture Collection entitled HELL O, dedicated to Queen Victoria and powerful curvy women. I spoke to Ziad and his stylist, Aiden Connor about the ethos behind the designs.

Ziad Ghanem by Leah Nelson

Ziad Ghanem by Leah Nelson.

You first started out in fashion with quite an urban aesthetic, but have since moved towards haute couture… how did this evolution come about and what is the best thing about working at such a high end?
I am trained in the techniques of couture but the ubran aesthetic is what represents me most, so there is always an element of urban within all my work in both ready to wear and my couture. The best thing about working at such high end is that you have a far more personal relationship with the client. Good communication is the key to a successful outfit.

Ziad Ghanem couture collection Lizzie Chiffon Print dress

Who buys and wears your exclusive couture looks, and how does the process of creation work once a buyer has requested a piece?
We have individual clients that have certain occasions to attend such as red carpet gala parties and other special events. After providing an individual design the client’s measurements are taken, the toile and the fabric samples are provided, the garment is fitted and then we start to produce the actual outfit. What works on paper may not always work in 3D form, so thats why we have fittings and alterations.

Ziad Ghanem by Adam Pryce

Ziad Ghanem by Adam Pryce.

What was the biggest culture shock when you moved from Lebanon to London in the 1990s, and how easy was it to adapt to life here?
Lebanon is a pretty open country to Western culture so I knew a lot about Britain before moving here. Moving to London is one of the best things I’ve done in my life, it gave me so much freedom, courage and inspiration. I felt at home here even from the first day I arrived and up to this day. I am so grateful to this country for everything it offers to creative people like me.

Ziad Ghanem couture collection S:S 2014 - cape

How have ideas and traditions from the place where you grew up infiltrated your designs?
Refinement and sophistication are things I’ve learnt from where I was brought up. I use lots of weaving techniques such as Nawl weaving and Artisan embroideries, which originate from that part of the Middle-East.

Ziad Ghanem couture collection S:S 2014 - pink dress

You have always shown your collections worn on a range of models who are fabulous for what they do as well as looking great. Why is it so important to you to steer clear of the traditional skinny teenage look that most designers show their clothing on?
Because it’s boring… Darling. Fashion should be about fun and not a prison. I strongly believe in individuality and I love the unexpected. My models are my muse. I love them.

Ziad Ghanem couture collection S:S 2014 - striped green dress

Why is the new couture collection titled “HELL O”?
It is titled ‘HELL O‘, because we wanted it to say ‘hello, look at me‘. We split the O from the word because I always get a lot of abuse for my use of my models (because of their sizes) and it feels like hell. I guess it’s nothing compared to their own hell that they must endure because of the industry and media discrimination. I was so, so upset when I read the body fascist comments of Mr Lagerfeld saying ‘nobody wants to see curves on the catwalk‘. I want to prove this statement is wrong, everyone can look good small, medium or large. Just embrace your individuality.

Ziad Ghanem By Lynne Datson

Ziad Ghanem by Lynne Datson.

What aspects of Queen Victoria inspired the latest collection?
Queen Victoria was a grand, majestic woman, and one of the longest running monarchs in history, so she is a symbol of powerful woman that always inspires me. She was no small lady but she never hid this and always showed this off in her full regalia.  

Ziad Ghanem by Hannah Boothman

Ziad Ghanem by Hannah Boothman.

In what way are you ethical in your designs?
I try to source my fabrics as ethically as possible so I use many vintage and reclaimed materials within my work, and I do not produce my pieces in a sweatshop – I treat the people I work with with respect. Ethicality must start with the way we treat the people around us, and the rest must follow.

Ziad Ghanem by Amy Davis

Ziad Ghanem by Amy Davis.

How did your mum get involved with the Paris is Burning collection, and has she contributed anything to the latest one?
My mum has always been the source of my inspiration as she loves glamour and dressing up. The 1980s was very much her area of fashion. She designed all of the accessories throughout the collection. She continually works with me; she is part of the team. 

Ziad Ghanem couture collection Zoe Black dress

Who took the photographs for the new S/S 2014 collection, and what was the art direction for these looks?
The inspiration for the shoot was Disney villains: I wanted it to be a caricature of haute couture and I was very lucky to meet the wonderful team I worked with, especially our models Zoe and Lizzie. Aiden Connor was the creative director for this photos, and it was shot by Andrew Hiles.

We sadly missed you on the catwalk last season (your shows are always a highlight of LFW) – when can we next expect to see you there, and any hints on what we might see? 
Thank you so much Amelia, I’m very thankful of your support since day one (thank you, blush). I will be doing a show during this coming February London Fashion Week. The new collection is looking very sensual but I am still working on the direction of the show. I’m in the middle of an idea that swings between “S & M” or “M & S“… lol

Ziad Ghanem by Avril Kelly

Ziad Ghanem by Avril Kelly.

Your garments really flatter the female physique in whatever form it comes in – what advice do you have for the ‘non-standard’ female when it comes to dressing beautifully?
Thank you for this compliment. My advice is firstly to invest in a good bra that fits well and is comfortable. Secondly, conceal the part you are not comfortable with and highlight your strongest assets. Don’t believe the myth that black is slimming or that a loose sack is flattering. Dress your size, brush your hair and accessorise.  

Ziad Ghanem couture collection Lizzie Black Corset

Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring young fashion designers who dream of entering the couture world?
My advice is, they need to study and learn how to make the classics with traditional techniques before they come out with the inventive pieces. As Alexander McQueen said ‘you need to know the rules before you can break them…’ A great knowledge of the human body is a must as well as an attention to the finer details. 

Thankyou Ziad, we can’t wait to see your new collection x

Categories ,Adam Pryce, ,Aiden Connor, ,Amy Davis, ,Andrew Hiles, ,Avril KellyAvril Kelly, ,Claire Kearns, ,couture, ,Hannah Boothman, ,Haute Couture, ,HELL O, ,interview, ,Leah Nelson, ,Lebanon, ,London Fashion Week, ,Lynne Datson, ,Nawl weaving, ,Queen Victoria, ,S/S 2014, ,Ziad Ghanem

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Amelia’s Magazine | Glastonbury Festival’s 2014 Emerging Talent Competition: My Top Three Acts

Alev Lenz memphis video still

I was very flattered, when, thanks to a recommendation from Stay Loose music PR, I was asked to be one of the judges for the first round of Glastonbury Festival’s 2014 Emerging Talent Competition. The panel is made up of ‘about 40 of the UK’s top online music writers’ that includes the likes of Drowned in Sound, TLOFBF and Breaking More Waves, so I am indeed in good company. Together we have compiled a long list of 120 acts from around 8000 entries (with the selection sent to me predominantly consisting of folk, electronic, acoustic and pop acts, at my request), from which the second stage judges must pick the 8 finalists and then the final winner. Over the years I have frequently been very impressed with the bands that have been highlighted by this competition as ones to watch, and so it was a real honour to be included in the early stages. The Emerging Talent Competition gives new and unsigned artists a chance to showcase their wares on a main stage at the festival, and previous entrants have gone on to great things, including Stornoway and Treetop Flyers.

Given so much talent I found it incredibly hard to make my final three choices, and in the end based much of my decision on the professionalism of the acts and the need to pick a balanced offering. So I choose my very favourite best tunes – the ones that had me hit the virtual rewind time and again – and then I looked for a good stage presence since this is essential in a festival setting (this was sadly a let down with a few acts that I really liked) and finally an aptitude for self promotion, as I feel this is vital today (again, too many acts had not really thought this through, which I feel shows a lack of ambition or belief, both of which are necessary to survive). It is perhaps no surprise that my top act is coincidentally one that had previously (before the competition) contacted me to cover their music, which I did, you can read my post here: I love a bit of get go in a creative!

Here, without further ado, are my top three choices: I hope at least one of them makes the final cut! And I hope to write a further blog post recommending some of the other great bands I found but which sadly did not make my final three. Click on the titles to hear the tracks on soundcloud.

1. Arthur Rigby & the Baskervylles – Moonlit Strangers

Arthur Rigby

Arthur Rigby & The Baskervylles - Moonlit Strangers By Warren Clarke

Arthur Rigby & The Baskervylles – Moonlit Strangers By Warren Clarke.

On Moonlit Strangers the Leeds based band Arthur Rigby & the Baskervylles employ lush orchestration and multi-layered vocals to tell a tale of loneliness and heartbreak. It’s a brilliant showcase for their exuberant melodies, with a folksy violin curling around the lead vocals, all backed by an enthusiastic brass section. The anthemic tunes and sing-a-long choruses are perfect for the Glastonbury crowd. (NOTE: between the time of writing this blog and the announcement of the long list Arthur Rigby sadly announced their demise… so it seems I did not pick a good horse after all. Here’s hoping that my other two choices fare better in the cut throat music world. I wish I could have given someone else a chance.)

2. Alev Lenz – Memphis

Alev Lenz, photo by VIKTOR VAUTHIER

Alev Lenz, photo by Viktor Vauthier.

Alev Lenz by Hannah Boothman

Alev Lenz by Hannah Boothman.

The opening notes of Memphis bear the woozy electronic hallmarks of German/Turkish singer Alev Lenz’s collaboration with acclaimed Finnish drummer Samuli Kosminen (Múm, Hauschka, Kronos Quartet, Jónsi). Her swooping vocals carry a beautiful melody of heartbreak and dreams across softly twinkling keys, a style which is further showcased on Song No.1. In other tracks she effortlessly combines classical influences with electronica to create a unique and engaging sound. I think Alev Lenz is an exciting new talent that we will hear much more from. 

3. George Boomsma – How High The Mountain

George Boomsma

George Boomsma by Angela Lamb

George Boomsma by Angela Lamb.

How High The Mountain is a simple slice of folk which showcases swoonsome vocals from North Yorkshire’s George Boomsma, all bound together by an elegiac violin. I found his live version of the song absolutely mesmerising and feel it would be sure to turn heads and gain fans at Glastonbury. I was also impressed by further tracks, with rollicking tunes and plentiful harmonies. 

I hope you will help me spread the word about these talented musicians, all of whom deserve further recognition x

Categories ,Alev Lenz, ,Angela Lamb, ,Arthur Rigby, ,Arthur Rigby & the Baskervylles, ,Breaking More Waves, ,competition, ,Drowned In Sound, ,Emerging Talent, ,George Boomsma, ,Glastonbury Festival, ,Hannah Boothman, ,How High The Mountain, ,Memphis, ,Moonlit Strangers, ,Samuli Kosminen, ,Song No.1, ,SoundCloud, ,Stay Loose, ,Stornoway, ,TLOFBF, ,Treetop Flyers, ,Viktor Vauthier, ,Warren Clarke

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Amelia’s Magazine | Singer Songwriter Dustin Tebbutt introduces his debut EP: The Breach

Dustin Tebbutt by Claudine O'Sullivan

Dustin Tebbutt by Claudine O’Sullivan.

From organic beginnings during a stay in Sweden, The Breach by Australian singer songwriter Dustin Tebbutt has gained a momentum all its own, gaining fans on major radio stations along the way. As he prepares to head over to Europe for a string of dates I caught up with him to find out more about the man behind this beguiling four track EP.

Dustin Tebbutt by Hannah Boothman

Dustin Tebbutt by Hannah Boothman.

Why did you decide to relocate to Sweden and in what way did this influence your music making?
The move to Sweden was in part due to a friend of mine that grew up in Stockholm. We’d been playing music together for a few years and he spoken a lot about the music scene, and Scandinavia in general. It sounded like an interesting place! Also, I was ready to travel at that time. I hadn’t been overseas before and for a few years I’d been idealising the northern hemisphere, and the winter there. I’ve always been infatuated with that rugged appeal some places have … Alaska, Canada, The Himalayas… Sweden had that harshness about it too. 

How did you support yourself whilst away?
A combination of making a lot of coffee at a cafe, and eating mostly frozen TV dinners.

Dustin Tebbutt

What did you most miss about your homeland on your adventures abroad?
There weren’t any ‘Aussie comforts‘ I really missed. Each country has its own version of Vegemite I guess, so I was more focused on finding and enjoying the things that make Sweden unique while I was there. But there’s always going to be a few people you have to leave behind. That was the hardest thing. Especially when your not sure if/when you’ll be coming back. I think the music reflects this aspect of the journey, and how it affected me. 

White Lines

Who were your most formative musical influences growing up?
I used to listen to my Dad belting out Stevie Ray Vaughan licks when he’d play… and I loved this classical guitarist called Slava Grigoryan. Other than that, a fair bit of the Verve, Jeff Buckley and Radiohead


What was the process of creation with this EP, and what were the easiest and hardest parts?
The process for this E.P. was really cyclical, in that I would move between individual elements in a song and rework them, over and over again. I did this to the point where one part that was once the foundational element, for example; the drums, became buried, or changed to just function as a highlight or secondary texture. In this sense, the tracks and their focus, are always shifting. It’s a really nice way to create… a real journey. The hardest part then though, is where do you stop? 

Where I Find You

How did you make the video for Where I Find You?
I shot that video in one pass, at home, using a combination of found footage, a computer monitor and a large block of ice. 

The Breach

What do the chalkboard drawings on The Breach video mean?
That’s really up to whoever is watching them unfold I think ;)

Where are you living now and why?
I’ve recently moved to Sydney, theres a great space here for me to work from and we get to see some amazing thunderstorms. 

What can we expect from Dustin Tebbutt in 2014?
I’ll be coming over to the UK at the end of Feb for a couple of things, and right now I’m just working on some new songs. So hopefully they’ll be out and about before too long!

The Breach EP by Dustin Tebbutt is out now. Catch Dustin Tebbutt in the UK at Servant Jazz Quarters on Tuesday 25th Feb, before he heads on over Tivoli Spiegelbar in Utrecht (Netherlands) on Saturday 1st March for a night with Marble Sounds and Mutual Benefit.

Categories ,Australian, ,Claudine O’Sullivan, ,Dustin Tebbutt, ,ep, ,Hannah Boothman, ,interview, ,Jeff Buckley, ,Marble Sounds, ,Mutual Benefit, ,radiohead, ,scandinavia, ,Servant Jazz Quarters, ,Slava Grigoryan, ,Stevie Ray Vaughan, ,sweden, ,sydney, ,The Breach, ,Tivoli Spiegelbar, ,Verve, ,Where I Find You, ,White Lines

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Amelia’s Magazine | Little May: Dust

Little May by Hannah Boothman
Little May by Hannah Boothman.

Little May are Hannah Field, Liz Drummond and Annie Hamilton: together they produce eery folk melodies that have garnered the name Ghost Folk. The Australian trio introduce the videos for new tracks Dust and Boardwalks below.

Little May - General Pic

‘We worked with the amazing crew from Oh Yeah Wow, and director Darcy Prendergast came up with the concept of exploring how we as humans react to the death of animals on screen. We are all huge dog lovers, and we really connected with his idea. It was simple, effective and we felt it best suited the sentiment of the song. The song itself is quite simple, but grand, and it has a lot of meaning wrapped up in the lyrics and the overall structure. We shot the film clip at a property an hour out of Melbourne. It was freezing but the vibes were great.

The EP has a bit of a running theme in terms of our videos; they have all been shot in some pretty beautiful parts of Australia which are quite special to all of us. Hide was filmed in Wollombi NSW, Boardwalks was filmed in Mollymook on the South Coast of NSW, and Dust in Broadford Victoria). We really wanted to run with an organic and pure feel for the EP, and to have some visuals that suited the music we wrote.’

Dust is taken from Little May‘s self titled EP which is out now on Island Records.

Categories ,Annie Hamilton, ,australia, ,Boardwalks, ,Darcy Prendergast, ,Hannah Boothman, ,Hannah Field, ,Hide, ,Island Records, ,Little May, ,Liz Drummond., ,Oh Yeah Wow

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