Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Exhibition Review: Headonism

Frieze showcases a collection of pastel coloured trenches at London Fashion Week off schedule at Vauxhall Fashion Scout.

Illustration of Piers Atkinson by Kellie Black

The Headonism exhibition is hidden in the Embankment Galleries on the lower ground floor of Somerset house, order behind the BFC tent. I’ve been down there twice, once on Thursday and once yesterday – and both times it seemed very under attended. Actually, all the exhibitions around the scrum of the registration area seem very quiet but they are all well worth a look, even if it is just to take a closer look at some of the collections as I did upstairs for Louise Amstrup.

Curated by milliner extraordinaire Stephen Jones, the Headonism exhibition is all about the hats and is the only section of London Fashion Week exclusively catering to the headwear market. There are only five exhibitors: J Smith, Little Shilpa, Noel Stewart, Piers Atkinson and Soren Bach, but the difference between the stands is remarkable. Disappointingly, the Soren Bach stand has no one looking after it, nor does Little Shilpa – merely a book to leave details in.

The only exhibitor to have put any real effort into their display is Piers Atkinson…but more on him later. The importance of showcasing your wares appropriately at London Fashion Week is shockingly something that many have left to the last minute. Read Katie Antoniou’s post on all the exhibitions to find out who did it well this year.

Illustration of J Smith Esquire by Kellie Black

We were lucky enough to interview two of the exhibitors prior to the show, the first was J Smith Esquire. His exhibit is immediately to your right as you enter the exhibition, displaying his most recent foray into the high street market with a Mister Smith display of flat pack hats in colourful cut out leather. He told us about the collection: ‘Mister Smith is designed to be robust, accessible, affordable millinery with high design values, so everyone can have a J Smith Esquire hat’.

Photograph from Mister Smith collection by Florence Massey

Mixing together the ready-to-wear and couture, J Smiths talent shines with his main collections, the most recent entitled ‘Illuminated’ is sure to be as highly impressive as his previous efforts. The new collection promises to be VERY eclectic, ‘(it’s) inspired by vintage Italian fashion papers to create a modern-day Edwardian couture, and yes, expect a very colourful collection!’

Illustration of Little Shilpa by Yelena Bryksenkova

Little Shilpa’s stand is on each side as you exit the exhibition space, and displays an array of great headpieces, necklaces and hats. His work is crazy, but in a good way. The designs are definitely not for the wallflowers among us, something crystalised by his naming Bjork as a dream customer!

With an Indian heritage it is unsurprising to hear that the inspiration for his Headonism show picks up on this , ‘the pieces were inspired from Bombay and London, there was an obvious juxtaposition of the 2 cities …all the pieces were specially created for Headonism as it was my first formal showing in London hence a sort of introduction to my inspirations’.

Photograph of J Shilpa by Florence Massey

Little Shilpa agrees with Piers Atkinson’s very true comment that millinery has finally become more about having fun rather than the obligatory weddings and funerals, ‘working out of India it has always been about fun and design’. Long may that continue!

Talking of Piers Atkinson and the move away from wedding/funeral hats his stand is fantastic. More of an exploded flower stall mixed with Hollywood clichés and mini people, I spent a-g-e-s peering at every single one of his creations. With lots of green felt, and miniature people Atkinson definitely taps into the fun side of millinery and his collection is so good: silly, energetic and vibrant. Spilling with colours and quirks, the Hollywood sign features heavily, as do clashing flowers and little gold spikes. If you want a break from the oh so serious fashion upstairs at BFC, pop down to Atkinson’s stand for a giggle.

Illustration of Piers Atkinson by Kellie Black

Photograph of Piers Atkinson by Florence Massey

Categories ,british fashion council, ,couture, ,Embankment Galleries, ,exhibition, ,fashion, ,hats, ,Headonism, ,headpieces, ,J Smith Esquire, ,Kellie Black, ,Little Shilpa, ,London Fashion Week, ,millinery, ,mister smith, ,piers atkinson, ,review, ,Somerset House, ,Stephen Jones, ,Yelena, ,Yelena Bryksenkova

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Exhibition Review

On any average, hospital non LFW weekend, pilule you might find me at one of London’s plethora of craft fairs, sales vintage markets or fetes, and what I’m always really impressed by is how wonderfully sellers exhibit their wares. Running a handmade products company myself, I know how testing it can be lugging a dollshouse across town in order to sell handmade stationery from its little rooms;but I’m always convinced its worth it when buyers comment on how much they like the stall set up. So I was surprised and decidedly disappointed to see that many of the exhibitors in Somerset House made little effort to do more than lay their goods out on a table. When buyers and journalists are looking at tens of jewellery sellers in one location on one day, exhibitors really need to do everything they can to make their stall stand out. As creative, inventive individuals, you’d imagine they’d jump at the chance to decorate their own little space, but many simply hung their clothes or spread their pieces out on a surface. So I’m dedicating this post to those who really made an effort, creating settings that reflected their work and really caught my eye. Presentation is no less important on a stall than it is on a catwalk!

Bark jewellery had a traditional British feel,designed by Miwako Yoshioka ; incorporating vintage sheet music and old mannequins in her display.

Comfort Station also excelled themselves with their delicate necklaces exhibited on antique books assembled on the wall.

Illustration by Rachel de ste Croix

Jacey Withers‘ collection channeled a sort of nautical highway woman; using treasure boxes and other props to present necklaces bearing intricate pirate’s chests, stingrays, shells and rifles.

Illustration by Rachel de ste Croix

In the Hedonism room curated by Stephen Jones, hats like Mister Smith’s were beautiful, but none so elaborately displayed as Piers Atkinson’s hat ‘garden’ with wonderful floral headpieces, novelty fascinators and some less ostentatious veiled hats with beautiful embroidery.

Zoe and Morgan had an amazing set up; their walls lined with mugshots of ‘criminals’ wearing their jewellery. Instead of using models they’d used friends of theirs and even invited you to have your won mugshot taken- here I am! Full points for effort and ingenuity.

Categories ,bark, ,comfort station, ,hats, ,jacey withers, ,jewellery, ,lfw, ,millinery, ,mister smith, ,piers atkinson, ,S/S 2011, ,Somerset House, ,zoe and morgan

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