Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Ashish

Ashish S/S 2012-by-Antonia-Parker
Ashish S/S 2012 by Antonia Parker.

There aren’t many designers who make me so excited I can hardly breathe, page but that tends to be a side effect of watching an Ashish catwalk show. Out they came, a stream of beautiful girls dressed in brightly coloured sequinned floral creations… except this being Ashish flowers were not staid or overly girly.

Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish-S-S12-by-Antonia-Parker
Ashish S/S 2012 by Antonia Parker.

Sunflowers were emblazoned against monochrome stripes, giant daisies ran riot, roses and primroses entwined, glossy orange lilies had stamens the size of forearms, a blouse was printed with marigolds and offset against a mini skirt in a bold brick design. There were chequerboards and zebra stripes, zigzags and leopard spots. Bright neon grounds gave a bolder edge to curling florals.

Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Paloma Faith was sporting an Ashish jacket on the front row.

Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish S/S 2012 by Gilly Rochester
Ashish S/S 2012 by Gilly Rochester.

Girls were styled to perfection by Celestine Cooney in DMs and straw fedoras with loose plaits, glittery eyes and dark glossy lips. Flowers popped out of boots, circling elegant calves in sprigs that dropped petals in a trail along the catwalk.

Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
LFW SS12 Ashish by Kristina Vasiljeva
Ashish S/S 2012 by Kristina Vasiljeva.

As each outfit came out I just about managed to contain my excitement, imagining just how easy it would be to wear these beautiful clothes: simple shift dresses with cowl backs, drawstring waisted shorts, casual t-shirts and floppy collared jackets that would suit women of all shapes and sizes.

Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish-by-Kate-Eldridge
Ashish S/S 2012 by Kate Eldridge.

Le Jardin d’Ashish was everything that Ashish does best: using signature sequins to inject very wearable clothing with a sense of colour and fun that no other designer could ever dare replicate. Long may Ashish continue to plough his very own idiosyncratic fashion furrow. He even thanked his mum on the show notes, how sweet is that?

Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashish SS 2012 review-photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Categories ,Antonia Parker, ,Ashish, ,BFC Tent, ,Brick, ,Celestine Cooney, ,DMs, ,DS Dundee, ,florals, ,Gilly Rochester, ,Kate Eldridge, ,Kristina Vasiljeva, ,Le Jardin d’Ashish, ,Leopard, ,lfw, ,Lilies, ,London Fashion Week, ,paloma faith, ,S/S 2012, ,Sequins, ,Somerset House, ,Straw Fedora, ,Zebra

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Michael Van Der Ham

Michael Van Der Ham by Joe Turvey
Michael van der Ham S/S 2012 by Joe Turvey

You can tell that Michael has fun with his designs; much like, troche say, fellow Newgen designers Louise Gray and Meadham Kirchhoff. He seems to have a less disciplined and somewhat more carefree vibe that runs through his work and for his Spring/Summer 2012 collection this revealed itself in playful prints that darted from block colour to illustrative lines to teeny-tiny florals. It was gorgeous! And landed itself firmly in my LFW top three.

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-010
Anna Dello Russo, posing as soon as she spotted Amelia‘s camera.

He had the front row that London designers dream of – Alexandra Schulman, Hilary Alexander, Anna Dello Russo (who looked ah-mazing in Prada), good ol’ Harold Tillman and many fashion editors, including ELLE UK fashion director Anne-Marie Curtis (many wouldn’t recognise the ELLE UK team, but I’m a little obsessed. I went into still shock when Rebecca Lowthorpe passed me at Erdem last season; best fashion writer ever). And all without a popstar poser in sight! Okay, I know that it may be fun and exciting to have Marina Diamond or Paloma Faith sit their buttocks on your front row, but there must be something about having this professional fash pack that makes your work feel truly respected.

Harold Tillman BFC at Michael Van Der Ham S/S 2012 - by Georgia Takacs
Harold Tillman, Chairman of the British Fashion Council. Photograph by Georgia Takacs.

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-021

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-025

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-029

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-035

It’s been a treat to follow Michael’s journey since his initial sponsorship by BFC Newgen (OH those Newgen designers!) and his collage creations have always been seen as, well, a little bit mad (see Spring/Summer 2011). And his recent collaboration with equally mad Bjork (I love her) on her Biophilia project is clear patchwork evidence of this. Naturally, however, I have often found his designs so playful and daring that they’re often un-wearable. But with this collection? I wanted it all. And so, I imagine, did every other woman in the room. A bold statement, yes. But with a perfectly balanced Spring/Summer colour scheme, casual-luxe dressmaking and just the right amount of garish glamour, Michael was almost spot on.

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-038

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-043

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-051

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-056

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-059

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-064

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-068

Michael Van Der Ham 2 by Nicola Ellen
Michael van der Ham S/S 2012 by Nicola Ellen

The collection’s appeal all lay in the casual, feminine dresses and pencil trouser/shirt combo that was all oh-so-embellished with colour and print upon a subtle mix of matte, jersey and sheer textures. That extra-long sentence made it all seem too much, I know. But there was absolutely nothing try-hard about this collection. There was no black floor-skimming dress in the finale (it’s done much too much) or crazed props sticking out of heads or hanging off models. It was straight-forward, good womenswear that still remained surprising and unpredictable as each look was revealed.

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-083

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-088

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-095

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-096

And not forgetting the accessories, which were the type that, rather than giving a brief appreciative nod, were all-round oggleworthy; you just wanted to stare at them and look in closer at their bright, ornate detail. These bold, chunky-but-delicate pieces acted as an extension of the mismatched intricate print, as did the sequined colourful clutches (some of which had the overdone Chanel-esque chain straps that I’m no longer a fan of) which were carried by many of the models.

Michael Van Der Ham by Nicola Ellen
Michael van der Ham S/S 2012 by Nicola Ellen

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-102

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-105

Michael Van Der Ham S/S 2012 - by Georgia Takacs
Photograph by Georgia Takacs. All other photography by Amelia Gregory.

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-108

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-116

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-119

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-121

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-125

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-128

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-131

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-133

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-137

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-139

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-141
Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Since his initial sponsorship from BFC’s Newgen, Michael van der Ham has grown up in leaps and bounds. There was a hype around him this season that has evolved from the previous ‘Keep an eye on him! He’s up-and-coming!’ to the sort that screams ‘I’m an established designer, showing my work at London Fashion Week; respect.’ And we do, Michael. We do.

Categories ,Alexandra Schulman, ,Amelia Gregory, ,Anna Dello Russo, ,BFC, ,BFC Newgen, ,bjork, ,british fashion council, ,chanel, ,Collage Dresses, ,Elle, ,Erdem, ,fashion, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Georgia Takacs, ,Harold Tillman, ,Hilary Alexander, ,jewellery, ,Joe Turvey, ,Joseph Turvey, ,lfw, ,LFW S/S 2012, ,London Fashion Week, ,London Fashion Week S/S 2012, ,Louise Gray, ,Marina Diamond, ,Meadham Kirchhoff, ,Michael van der Ham, ,Newgen, ,Nicola Ellen, ,paloma faith, ,Prada, ,print, ,Rebecca Lowthorpe, ,Topshop Newgen, ,Topshop Venue, ,vogue

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Michael Van Der Ham

Michael Van Der Ham by Joe Turvey
Michael van der Ham S/S 2012 by Joe Turvey

You can tell that Michael has fun with his designs; much like, troche say, fellow Newgen designers Louise Gray and Meadham Kirchhoff. He seems to have a less disciplined and somewhat more carefree vibe that runs through his work and for his Spring/Summer 2012 collection this revealed itself in playful prints that darted from block colour to illustrative lines to teeny-tiny florals. It was gorgeous! And landed itself firmly in my LFW top three.

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-010
Anna Dello Russo, posing as soon as she spotted Amelia‘s camera.

He had the front row that London designers dream of – Alexandra Schulman, Hilary Alexander, Anna Dello Russo (who looked ah-mazing in Prada), good ol’ Harold Tillman and many fashion editors, including ELLE UK fashion director Anne-Marie Curtis (many wouldn’t recognise the ELLE UK team, but I’m a little obsessed. I went into still shock when Rebecca Lowthorpe passed me at Erdem last season; best fashion writer ever). And all without a popstar poser in sight! Okay, I know that it may be fun and exciting to have Marina Diamond or Paloma Faith sit their buttocks on your front row, but there must be something about having this professional fash pack that makes your work feel truly respected.

Harold Tillman BFC at Michael Van Der Ham S/S 2012 - by Georgia Takacs
Harold Tillman, Chairman of the British Fashion Council. Photograph by Georgia Takacs.

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-021

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-025

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-029

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-035

It’s been a treat to follow Michael’s journey since his initial sponsorship by BFC Newgen (OH those Newgen designers!) and his collage creations have always been seen as, well, a little bit mad (see Spring/Summer 2011). And his recent collaboration with equally mad Bjork (I love her) on her Biophilia project is clear patchwork evidence of this. Naturally, however, I have often found his designs so playful and daring that they’re often un-wearable. But with this collection? I wanted it all. And so, I imagine, did every other woman in the room. A bold statement, yes. But with a perfectly balanced Spring/Summer colour scheme, casual-luxe dressmaking and just the right amount of garish glamour, Michael was almost spot on.

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-038

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-043

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-051

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-056

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-059

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-064

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-068

Michael Van Der Ham 2 by Nicola Ellen
Michael van der Ham S/S 2012 by Nicola Ellen

The collection’s appeal all lay in the casual, feminine dresses and pencil trouser/shirt combo that was all oh-so-embellished with colour and print upon a subtle mix of matte, jersey and sheer textures. That extra-long sentence made it all seem too much, I know. But there was absolutely nothing try-hard about this collection. There was no black floor-skimming dress in the finale (it’s done much too much) or crazed props sticking out of heads or hanging off models. It was straight-forward, good womenswear that still remained surprising and unpredictable as each look was revealed.

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-083

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-088

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-095

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-096

And not forgetting the accessories, which were the type that, rather than giving a brief appreciative nod, were all-round oggleworthy; you just wanted to stare at them and look in closer at their bright, ornate detail. These bold, chunky-but-delicate pieces acted as an extension of the mismatched intricate print, as did the sequined colourful clutches (some of which had the overdone Chanel-esque chain straps that I’m no longer a fan of) which were carried by many of the models.

Michael Van Der Ham by Nicola Ellen
Michael van der Ham S/S 2012 by Nicola Ellen

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-102

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-105

Michael Van Der Ham S/S 2012 - by Georgia Takacs
Photograph by Georgia Takacs. All other photography by Amelia Gregory.

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-108

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-116

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-119

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-121

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-125

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-128

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-131

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-133

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-137

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-139

Michael Van Der Ham SS 2011 review-141
Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Since his initial sponsorship from BFC’s Newgen, Michael van der Ham has grown up in leaps and bounds. There was a hype around him this season that has evolved from the previous ‘Keep an eye on him! He’s up-and-coming!’ to the sort that screams ‘I’m an established designer, showing my work at London Fashion Week; respect.’ And we do, Michael. We do.

Categories ,Alexandra Schulman, ,Amelia Gregory, ,Anna Dello Russo, ,BFC, ,BFC Newgen, ,bjork, ,british fashion council, ,chanel, ,Collage Dresses, ,Elle, ,Erdem, ,fashion, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Georgia Takacs, ,Harold Tillman, ,Hilary Alexander, ,jewellery, ,Joe Turvey, ,Joseph Turvey, ,lfw, ,LFW S/S 2012, ,London Fashion Week, ,London Fashion Week S/S 2012, ,Louise Gray, ,Marina Diamond, ,Meadham Kirchhoff, ,Michael van der Ham, ,Newgen, ,Nicola Ellen, ,paloma faith, ,Prada, ,print, ,Rebecca Lowthorpe, ,Topshop Newgen, ,Topshop Venue, ,vogue

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Exhibition Review: Headonism


Charlie Le Mindu by Claire Kearns

The exhibitions around Somerset House are one of my favourite London Fashion Week pleasures – I enjoy wandering the stands in between shows as it gives you a chance to see all of the clothes close up and even talk to some of the designers about their new collections. One such exhibition that I always make sure I catch, view is Headonsim. Curated by legendary milliner Stephen Jones, information pills who has designed for everyone from Marilyn Manson to Beyonce, medications 2011 marks its third year of existence. Read my S/S 2011 review here.


Charlie Le Mindu by Michelle Pegrume

Four milliners participated – Charlie Le Mindu, Piers Atkinson, Noel Stewart and J Smith Esquire. Situated next to the press lounge in Somerset House this time around, each designer exhibited their best talents on stands placed at different levels in quite a small room on the ground floor (rather than on the lower level as in previous years).

As expected, Charlie Le Mindu offered up some weird yet totally wonderful pieces, including this blue haired creation with amazing top headpiece and veil – the inky blue shades that used for his new pieces are a dramatically cool, dark approach to the lighter summer colours that we have seen on the catwalks so far this season. Le Mindu is well known for his hair couture creations – owing to regular nudity and his creative use of hair, his catwalk shows are always a media, blogger, fashion frenzy. For a background on some of the amazing hair couture collections he has created in the past, read Amelia’s review on his AW11 collection here.

His Headonism collection of blue wigs featured crystals, dip dyed ends and flowing curls given an edge with spiked headbands. Unlike his more avant garde creations, the ones on show at Headonism were a good flavour of what the designer is capable of in a more wearable capacity (if you are so inclined to wear a blue wig, that is!).


Piers Atkinson by Dee Andrews

Piers Atkinson has long been a favourite designer of mine. I love the way that he manages to be fun, quirky and different with his designs but still create pieces with enduring appeal. I reviewed his collection last year when the Hollywood hat stood out for me, he has since designed the cult-status Paris hat, which spawned further ‘Anna’ (but which Anna did he mean?!) and ‘London’ hats (worn by all those working behind the scenes at Somerset House). With his iconic cherry designs and loyal celebrity following (Anna Dello Russo, Kate Moss, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kelis, Cate Blanchett and Paloma Faith), his credentials are faultless. As part of the ‘Hot Voodoo’ S/S 2012 collection, this feather boa-esque blue snood is the ‘Ashlie’ and features a banana leaf print by Zandra Rhodes and printed blue silk chiffon Macaw.


Noel Stewart by Claire Kearns

Noel Stewart showed a beautiful collection of bright hats and headpieces, with multi-coloured cactus shapes, day-glo orange and wide rimmed sun hats, his S/S 2012 collection is bursting with the in-your-face shades that dominated many of the catwalks this season. The London based milliner has enjoyed large degrees of success since leaving the Royal College of Arts – the roll call of designers he has worked with is impressive to say the least and includes Hussein Chalayan, Oscar De La Renta and Roland Mouret. Perfectly crystallised in the illustration above, this fashion week he designed the hats for the Ready to Wear Erdem S/S 2012 catwalk show – a floral fantasy in pale blue hues played out in pretty dresses, trench coats and flowing skirts. Delicate in their execution, the small hats complimented the detailed floral prints of the collection wonderfully.


J Smith Esquire by Dee Andrews

J Smith Esquire presented a dreamy collection of Magritte inspired cloud bowler hats, sun hats and intricate leather headpieces. The sky blue and deep blue straw hats pattered with white fluffy clouds were a simple way to skip forward to thoughts of summer. Made from patent leather, his other headpieces have been cut to resemble feathers curling around the head in hues of sky blue, red and pale grey.

All in all, some exquisite design and now I can’t wait for summer.

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,Anna Dello Russo, ,Cate Blanchett, ,Charlie le Mindu, ,Claire Kearns, ,Dee Andrews, ,Erdem, ,Erdem S/S12, ,Florence Massey, ,Headonism, ,Hot Voodoo, ,Hussein Chalayan, ,J Smith Esquire, ,Kate Moss, ,Kelis, ,Lady Gaga, ,London Fashion Week, ,London Fashion Week Exhibition, ,London milliners, ,Magritte, ,Michelle Pegrume, ,Noel Stewart, ,Oscar De La Renta, ,paloma faith, ,piers atkinson, ,Rihanna, ,Roland Mouret, ,Somerset House, ,Stephen Jones, ,Zandra Rhodes

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Presentation: Ashley Isham (reprise)

On any average, dosage abortion non LFW weekend, unhealthy you might find me at one of London’s plethora of craft fairs, order 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 good out on a table. When buyers and journos are looking at tens of jewellery sellers in one location on one day, they 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.

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.

In the Hedonism room curated by Stephen Jones, hats like Mister Smith’s were beautiful, but none so elaborately displayed ad Piers Atkinson’s hat ‘garden’ with wonderful floral headpieces, novelty fascinators and some less ostentatious veiled hats with beautiful embroidery.
LFW. ISHAM. HAYLEY WARNHAM
Ashley Isham’s amazing headdresses, illness by Hayley Warnham.

I’m never really sure how to take Ashley Isham. On the one hand some of his dresses are quite fabulous, shop he seems to attract quite a cool crowd and has a pretty good rep… on the other hand some of his dresses are frankly tacky.

LFW_Paloma Faith Noisettes stephanie Parr
Paloma Faith and the singer from the Noisettes by Stephanie Parr.

It’s almost as if he’s cornered the market in awards ceremony frocks for the slightly oddball celebrity: outre, but not too out of place on the red carpet. Hence, I guess, the front row presence of the kooky Paloma Faith and that girl whose name I can never remember from the Noisettes.

LFW. ISHAM. HAYLEY WARNHAM
LFW. ISHAM. HAYLEY WARNHAM
LFW. ISHAM. HAYLEY WARNHAM
Ashley Isham by Hayley Warnham.

I’ve only skim read Matt’s blog so that I don’t get swayed by his opinions of the show, but it was enough to note that his photos are way better than mine are: it’s interesting, if you’re taking photos from the audience so much of it is down to pot luck. And this time – despite my seat very close to the pop darlings – I was in quite a shite position for good photos: changing light levels meant I had to change my ISO setting manually as they walked. Not easy I can tell you. And not that I’m making excuses you understand. Still, if you want to see some superb pics I suggest you scurry over to Matt’s blog. They are really quite wonderful. But mine do give ample cause to marvel at the wonderful cut paper surround to the catwalk entrance.

Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

There was lots of sheeny satin fabrics, frothy feathers and splashy coloured prints, all accessorised with what I can only describe as some really rather marvellous Hawaiian Geisha headpieces. After the show I espied stylist Tamara Cincik peeking out from backstage. I can only presume these were her doing, and very fabulous too. Now what I’d like to see is someone stride down the red carpet in a posh frock… and one of these hectic hair adornments. Then maybe they’d give that Lady Gaga a run for her money.

Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory
Ashley Isham S/S 2011 photo by Amelia Gregory

Categories ,Ashley Isham, ,Geisha, ,Hayley Warnham, ,Lady Gaga, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Matt Bramford, ,onoff, ,paloma faith, ,Stephanie Parr, ,Tamara Cincik, ,the Noisettes

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Ashley Isham


Paul Costelloe S/S 2011, illness illustrated by Natsuki Otani

So the circus has begun, adiposity the Big Top (the BFC Marquee) is up surrounded by bizarrely dressed clowns, this and trapeze artists swing from the roof of Somerset House. Okay, that last one isn’t true, but you get the picture!

I haven’t had a bloody chance to write anything yet, and Amelia has beaten me to it with a review of fashion week S/S 2011′s opener – Paul Costelloe. But, while I have the chance, I thought I’d throw my tuppence worth in, too.
 
For the past six years, Paul Costelloe has had the rather unenviable task of opening the proceedings. I arrived super early, as I always do – I woke up actually asking if Santa had been, I was so excited I presumed it must be Christmas. Anyway, I joined the queue for Costelloe, in which the mean age must have been approximately 68. It was a crimplene snake. These lovely old dears were desperate to get inside (I suppose you can never be too careful, especially in this chilly weather) and, rather unfashionably, we were ushered inside on time.


 
Now I am familiar with Costelloe’s work, but the relationship between his collections and his audience totally and uttrerly baffles me. One by one, the first models of S/S 2011 strutted down the catwalk wearing fresh, well cut and contemporary clothes. So why do grannies in knits flock to see this? I got chatting to two gorgeous old dears who, with their enthusiastic clapping and cheering, almost threatened to steal my attention from the show. They thought every frock was ‘bloody gorgeous’ and cries of ‘Oooh, that’s STUNNING’ were heard from all sides.


My two lovely ladies, on the right during the finale


illustrated by Natsuki Otani

The show itself was a treat from start to finish, for a number of reasons. The styling was great, with bright red lipstick, back-combed hair piled atop models heads (a look Costelloe is famed for) and the soundtrack was summery and fun, featuring Eliza Doolittle’s recent hit Pack Up.

The clothes were wonderful, featuring contemporary curves with emphasis on waists, oversized bows and playful graphic prints. Such fun. I particularly like everything about this following model and her outfit, whose face and hair do reminded me of Evangelista in naughty George Michael’s Too Funky video.
 

The show, however, had the most bizarre ending. Six awkward looking blokes dressed to the nines in suits cautiously eased their way up the catwalk. They all looked alike and I instantly guessed that they were brothers. It turns out Mr Costelloe isnt just good at fashion, he also is a dab hand and breeding too. If you’ve already read Amelia’s review, then apologies, but SIX SONS! Bloody hell! SIX SONS! Imagine. My dad has four and went grey in his thirties. I can only imagine that Paul Costelloe is a devout Catholic or didn’t have a television at home. How does he find the time to produce such an exciting and polished collection with this sextet? Lord knows.

I’m with Amelia on the menswear – I probably wouldn’t wear it and it’s a long way away from the masses of creative talent we’ll see on menswear day next week. But, if his collections develop like his womenswear has over the seasons, I’m sure I’ll be changing my mind pretty swiftly!


Paul Costelloe menswear, illustrated to look far better than it was, by Natsuki Otani


Paul Costelloe S/S 2011, patient illustrated by Natsuki Otani

So the circus has begun, the Big Top (the BFC Marquee) is up surrounded by bizarrely dressed clowns, and trapeze artists swing from the roof of Somerset House. Okay, that last one isn’t true, but you get the picture!

I haven’t had a bloody chance to write anything yet, and Amelia has beaten me to it with a review of fashion week S/S 2011′s opener – Paul Costelloe. But, while I have the chance, I thought I’d throw my tuppence worth in, too.
 
For the past six years, Paul Costelloe has had the rather unenviable task of opening the proceedings. I arrived super early, as I always do – I woke up actually asking if Santa had been, I was so excited I presumed it must be Christmas. Anyway, I joined the queue for Costelloe, in which the mean age must have been approximately 68. It was a crimplene snake. These lovely old dears were desperate to get inside (I suppose you can never be too careful, especially in this chilly weather) and, rather unfashionably, we were ushered inside on time.


 
Now I am familiar with Costelloe’s work, but the relationship between his collections and his audience totally and uttrerly baffles me. One by one, the first models of S/S 2011 strutted down the catwalk wearing fresh, well cut and contemporary clothes. So why do grannies in knits flock to see this? I got chatting to two gorgeous old dears who, with their enthusiastic clapping and cheering, almost threatened to steal my attention from the show. They thought every frock was ‘bloody gorgeous’ and cries of ‘Oooh, that’s STUNNING’ were heard from all sides.


My two lovely ladies, on the right during the finale


illustrated by Natsuki Otani

The show itself was a treat from start to finish, for a number of reasons. The styling was great, with bright red lipstick, back-combed hair piled atop models heads (a look Costelloe is famed for) and the soundtrack was summery and fun, featuring Eliza Doolittle’s recent hit Pack Up.

The clothes were wonderful, featuring contemporary curves with emphasis on waists, oversized bows and playful graphic prints. Such fun. I particularly like everything about this following model and her outfit, whose face and hair do reminded me of Evangelista in naughty George Michael’s Too Funky video.
 

The show, however, had the most bizarre ending. Six awkward looking blokes dressed to the nines in suits cautiously eased their way up the catwalk. They all looked alike and I instantly guessed that they were brothers. It turns out Mr Costelloe isnt just good at fashion, he also is a dab hand and breeding too. If you’ve already read Amelia’s review, then apologies, but SIX SONS! Bloody hell! SIX SONS! Imagine. My dad has four and went grey in his thirties. I can only imagine that Paul Costelloe is a devout Catholic or didn’t have a television at home. How does he find the time to produce such an exciting and polished collection with this sextet? Lord knows.

I’m with Amelia on the menswear – I probably wouldn’t wear it and it’s a long way away from the masses of creative talent we’ll see on menswear day next week. But, if his collections develop like his womenswear has over the seasons, I’m sure I’ll be changing my mind pretty swiftly!


Paul Costelloe menswear, illustrated to look far better than it was, by Natsuki Otani


Ashley Isham S/S 2011, more about illustrated by Zarina Liew

Late afternoon it was the turn of Ashley Isham to display his wares for S/S 2011 at the On|Off venue, this web Victoria House. Amelia had beaten me there by bike (natch) and so I made my way in and joined the back of the queue. Amelia tried to persuade me to push to the front (by text) but I’m the world’s biggest scaredy cat at fashion week and so stayed where I was. On this occasion, it actually didn’t matter – I shoved my way to get a good standing spot, from where I could take pics. As I did I noticed a fashion palaver going on at the first corner of the horse-shaped catwalk. The paps were in a frenzy to capture a shot of somebody who I could only see from the back, and who was wearing a ridiculous cap that I can only describe as a disco-themed tribute to the Pontiff’s zucchetto. It turns out it was Paloma Faith.

As somebody minced down the catwalk explaining that Ashley was desperate to start and was getting bored (we were already running over half an hour late) the team soon sprang into action to get the show on its way.


Illustration by Zarina Liew

Ashley Isham is famed for his red-carpet dresses that many a celebrity is fond of. I hadn’t actually seen one of his shows before, but I was totally impressed. With so much doom and gloom and many of the designers playing it safe and producing muted, basic collections, thank heavens for Ashley Isham. Camp is an understatement with these fabulous headpieces, over-embellished frocks, glitter, sparkles, crystals, feathers, ruffles, beads and jewels. Now I know where Strictly Come Dancing gets its ideas from.

With a disco soundtrack including Wham! and The Hues Corporation, I was left desperate to grab one of the models and pay homage to Saturday Night Fever with a jazzy disco waltz.

I have no idea how to write about this collection without banging on about how wonderfully camp it was. Where to start? Well, key themes were bare shoulders, maxi-length floor sweepers, fishtail hems, silky fabrics and as much haberdashery-shop-hoard you can throw on something without actually going blind. Isham’s numbers ooze sex appeal and he’s clearly a fan of the female form. These dresses are made to emphasise the top half and the waist, and body-conscience is always key.

Wonderful headpieces constructed of artificial flowers made models look extremely exotic, and they were by far my favourite thing in the show.

I’m really struggling here. I love it, but I’m lost for words. It was utterly bonkers. You can see it all in the pictures anyway.

Colours and patterns were a bit all over the place, and while I wouldn’t want to knock this collection, if I had to I’d say it wouldn’t hurt to be a little more coherent. But when frocks make these alien-like creatures we call models look sexy, who cares?

Photographs: Matt Bramford

Categories ,Ashley Isham, ,Blow PR, ,body-conscious, ,disco, ,Fishtail, ,headpieces, ,London Fashion Week, ,onoff, ,paloma faith, ,Rock the boat don’t rock the boat baby, ,S/S 2011, ,The Hues Corporation, ,Wham!, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Ashish

Ashish A/W 2011 by Erica Sharp
Ashish A/W 2011 by Erica Sharp.

Outside the BFC tent I noticed a strange character wobbling towards the entrance in huge pink platforms. It was only when she de-robed inside that I realised it was in fact Paloma Faith – dressed in a suitably over the top manner. Apparently M.I.A. was there as well, information pills pharm having provided the suitably edgy soundtrack.

Paloma Faith at Ashish by Kellie Black
Paloma Faith at Ashish by Kellie Black.

I haven’t been to an Ashish catwalk show – this despite him being amongst my very favourite designers of all time. He featured in the first ever issue of Amelia’s Magazine and I always used his clothes when I was working as a stylist. Needless to say I was very excited about attending this show…

Ashish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011 by Antonia Parker
Ashish A/W 2011 by Antonia Parker.

Ashish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011 by Erica Sharp
Ashish A/W 2011 by Erica Sharp.

Ashish describes this collection as an ode to the “archetypal poor little rich girl”, sickness the kind you might find slumming it in Dalston courtesy of mum and dad, decked out in posh clothes that have seen better days. In practice this meant lots of his signature sequinned garments, oversized tartans, ripped jeans and moth eaten jumpers.

Ashish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011 by Antonia ParkerAshish A/W 2011 by Antonia Parker
Ashish A/W 2011 by Antonia Parker.

I loved the press release, replete with descriptions of a “layabout laird” who mixes “detritus with deluxe”. Hers is a London punk aesthetic thrown against Scottish Highland heritage. It’s a story that the industry can surely relate to: there’s a reason why so many people working in fashion come from the upper echelons of society. Unless you hit the big time it certainly won’t make you rich, so another source of support is often standard requirement.

Ashish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011 by Daria HlazatovaAshish A/W 2011 by Daria Hlazatova
Ashish A/W 2011 by Daria Hlazatova.

Models were expertly cast: lanky girls with greasy dip-dyed hair and bored expressions. Spiderwebs crawled across the knees. Boys wore DMs and girls sported black and white patterned brothel creepers. Statements, Teen Idle and Hard Times, were appliqued on frayed jumpers that had been attacked by killer moths. My favourite pieces were undoubtedly the supremely wearable sequinned jumper dresses, but to be honest I adored it all.

Ashish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Ashish A/W 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Ashish A/W 2011 by Madi
Ashish A/W 2011 by Madi.

You can see more work by Erica Sharp, Antonia Parker and Kellie Black in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Antonia Parker, ,Ashish, ,BFC, ,Brothel Creepers, ,dalston, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Erica Sharp, ,Highland, ,Jeans, ,Kellie Black, ,M.I.A, ,Madi, ,Madi Illustrates, ,MIA, ,Moths, ,paloma faith, ,punk, ,scotland, ,Somerset House, ,Spiderwebs, ,Tartan

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Ashish

Ashish A/W 2011 by Erica Sharp
Ashish A/W 2011 by Erica Sharp.

Outside the BFC tent I noticed a strange character wobbling towards the entrance in huge pink platforms. It was only when she de-robed inside that I realised it was in fact Paloma Faith – dressed in a suitably over the top manner. Apparently M.I.A. was there as well, information pills pharm having provided the suitably edgy soundtrack.

Paloma Faith at Ashish by Kellie Black
Paloma Faith at Ashish by Kellie Black.

I haven’t been to an Ashish catwalk show – this despite him being amongst my very favourite designers of all time. He featured in the first ever issue of Amelia’s Magazine and I always used his clothes when I was working as a stylist. Needless to say I was very excited about attending this show…

Ashish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011 by Antonia Parker
Ashish A/W 2011 by Antonia Parker.

Ashish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011 by Erica Sharp
Ashish A/W 2011 by Erica Sharp.

Ashish describes this collection as an ode to the “archetypal poor little rich girl”, sickness the kind you might find slumming it in Dalston courtesy of mum and dad, decked out in posh clothes that have seen better days. In practice this meant lots of his signature sequinned garments, oversized tartans, ripped jeans and moth eaten jumpers.

Ashish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011 by Antonia ParkerAshish A/W 2011 by Antonia Parker
Ashish A/W 2011 by Antonia Parker.

I loved the press release, replete with descriptions of a “layabout laird” who mixes “detritus with deluxe”. Hers is a London punk aesthetic thrown against Scottish Highland heritage. It’s a story that the industry can surely relate to: there’s a reason why so many people working in fashion come from the upper echelons of society. Unless you hit the big time it certainly won’t make you rich, so another source of support is often standard requirement.

Ashish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011 by Daria HlazatovaAshish A/W 2011 by Daria Hlazatova
Ashish A/W 2011 by Daria Hlazatova.

Models were expertly cast: lanky girls with greasy dip-dyed hair and bored expressions. Spiderwebs crawled across the knees. Boys wore DMs and girls sported black and white patterned brothel creepers. Statements, Teen Idle and Hard Times, were appliqued on frayed jumpers that had been attacked by killer moths. My favourite pieces were undoubtedly the supremely wearable sequinned jumper dresses, but to be honest I adored it all.

Ashish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAshish A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Ashish A/W 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Ashish A/W 2011 by Madi
Ashish A/W 2011 by Madi.

You can see more work by Erica Sharp, Antonia Parker and Kellie Black in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Categories ,ACOFI, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Antonia Parker, ,Ashish, ,BFC, ,Brothel Creepers, ,dalston, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Erica Sharp, ,Highland, ,Jeans, ,Kellie Black, ,M.I.A, ,Madi, ,Madi Illustrates, ,MIA, ,Moths, ,paloma faith, ,punk, ,scotland, ,Somerset House, ,Spiderwebs, ,Tartan

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Ashley Isham

Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011 by Jane Young
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011 by Jane Young.

Every now and again London Fashion Week throws out a curveball and you end up in the most random of places with the most ridiculous collection of people, buy wondering what the hell is going on. The Olivia Rubin show was just such an occasion.

I was very early to this show – a confluence of circumstances that left me standing at the front of a line outside the Jalouse nightclub in central London until I was completely numb with cold. From my prime vantage point I was able to ogle as the paps pounced on a series of D-Z list celebrities. I recognised Konnie Huq and footballer’s wife Danielle Lloyd but after that it was anyone’s guess. In my mind it’s never a good idea for the guests to overshadow a fashion show, this and especially not if I haven’t got a clue who they are.

Once the celebs had been swept into the hallowed basement of Jalouse I too was invited in. I picked up a drink and swiftly headed towards the sunken seating area, click ignoring the protestations of the press girl to wait and see if there was space later on. As if! We’ve run an extensive interview with Olivia Rubin on this website and I didn’t much feel like standing around on my own anymore, so I plonked myself down next to a friendly looking bunch of people on a curved sofa. I soon discovered that the lad next to me was on work experience at a fashion magazine and somewhat in thrall to his first fashion week. Herein is revealed the ridiculousness of seating arrangements at fashion shows – at the end of the day they are completely arbitrary. Depending on who you know and whether you’re bolshy enough you can sit wherever you want, be you intern or editor.

Olivia Rubin by Karolina Burdon
Olivia Rubin by Karolina Burdon.

As guests slowly filled the club the celebrities stepped up on to the catwalk at my head height to pose for the paps. First Danielle, swishing her hair this way and that like a prime racehorse. Then, to my delight, Laura Goodger and friends from The Only Way is Essex. Don’t worry, I had to look up her full name. I did watch a few episodes, but I’m not THAT SAD. By this point I was gobsmacked by the stunning level of celeb-dom in attendance. I later discovered that another fashion PR had been approached for tickets by the *cast* of The Only Way is Essex, but had rapidly turned them down as way too tacky. I must say, I don’t really understand the logic. Rather than making me think, way-hey, this must mean Olivia Rubin is really cool, it makes me utterly distracted… anthropologically fascinated by these strange creatures. The result? I spent the entire catwalk show trying to capture Lauren pouting and preening, rather than concentrating on the clothes – which in any case were hard to see against the glare of flashbulbs. Famous model Olivia Inge certainly enjoyed herself too; gunning at friends in the audience as she pranced down the catwalk.

In a way it’s a shame that there was so much flimshaw surrounding this show because Olivia Rubin makes very cute clothes that feature colourful, fun prints and simple 80s styling. To my mind not at all Essex.

As soon as the show was done the music leapt up to dancing volume, and yet more Essex girls headed to the toilets to touch up their wondrously over-wrought get ups that must surely have taken all day to perfect. I could happily have stayed next to the basins with my camera all night but Matt and I instead drank free cocktails and put the world to rights.

You can read Matt Bramford’s fabby review here. Read our interview with Olivia Rubin here.

Olivia Rubin A/W 2011 by Jane Young
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011 by Jane Young.

Every now and again London Fashion Week throws out a curveball and you end up in the most random of places with the most ridiculous collection of people, purchase wondering what the hell is going on. The Olivia Rubin show was just such an occasion.

I was very early to this show – a confluence of circumstances that left me standing at the front of a line outside the Jalouse nightclub in central London until I was completely numb with cold. From my prime vantage point I was able to ogle as the paps pounced on a series of D-Z list celebrities. I recognised Konnie Huq and footballer’s wife Danielle Lloyd but after that it was anyone’s guess. In my mind it’s never a good idea for the guests to overshadow a fashion show, and especially not if I haven’t got a clue who they are.

Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Once the celebs had been swept into the hallowed basement of Jalouse I too was invited in. I picked up a drink and swiftly headed towards the sunken seating area, ignoring the protestations of the press girl to wait and see if there was space later on. As if! We’ve run an extensive interview with Olivia Rubin on this website and I didn’t much feel like standing around on my own anymore, so I plonked myself down next to a friendly looking bunch of people on a curved sofa. I soon discovered that the lad next to me was on work experience at a fashion magazine and somewhat in thrall to his first fashion week. Herein is revealed the ridiculousness of seating arrangements at fashion shows – at the end of the day they are completely arbitrary. Depending on who you know and whether you’re bolshy enough you can sit wherever you want, be you intern or editor.

Olivia Rubin by Karolina Burdon
Olivia Rubin by Karolina Burdon.

As guests slowly filled the club the celebrities stepped up on to the catwalk at my head height to pose for the paps. First Danielle, swishing her hair this way and that like a prime racehorse. Then, to my delight, Laura Goodger and friends from The Only Way is Essex. Don’t worry, I had to look up her full name. I did watch a few episodes, but I’m not THAT SAD. By this point I was gobsmacked by the stunning level of celeb-dom in attendance. I later discovered that another fashion PR had been approached for tickets by the *cast* of The Only Way is Essex, but had rapidly turned them down as way too tacky. I must say, I don’t really understand the logic. Rather than making me think, way-hey, this must mean Olivia Rubin is really cool, it makes me utterly distracted… anthropologically fascinated by these strange creatures.

Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

The result? I spent the entire catwalk show trying to capture Lauren pouting and preening, rather than concentrating on the clothes – which in any case were hard to see against the glare of flashbulbs. Famous model Olivia Inge certainly enjoyed herself too; gunning at friends in the audience as she pranced down the catwalk.

Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

In a way it’s a shame that there was so much flimshaw surrounding this show because Olivia Rubin makes very cute clothes that feature colourful, fun prints and simple 80s styling. To my mind not at all Essex.

As soon as the show was done the music leapt up to dancing volume, and yet more Essex girls headed to the toilets to touch up their wondrously over-wrought get ups that must surely have taken all day to perfect. I could happily have stayed next to the basins with my camera all night but Matt and I instead drank free cocktails and put the world to rights.

You can read Matt Bramford’s fabby review here. Read our interview with Olivia Rubin here.

Olivia Rubin A/W 2011 by Jane Young
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011 by Jane Young.

Every now and again London Fashion Week throws out a curveball and you end up in the most random of places with the most ridiculous collection of people, generic wondering what the hell is going on. The Olivia Rubin show was just such an occasion.

I was very early to this show – a confluence of circumstances that left me standing at the front of a line outside the Jalouse nightclub in central London until I was completely numb with cold. From my prime vantage point I was able to ogle as the paps pounced on a series of D-Z list celebrities. I recognised Konnie Huq and footballer’s wife Danielle Lloyd but after that it was anyone’s guess. In my mind it’s never a good idea for the guests to overshadow a fashion show, cialis 40mg and especially not if I haven’t got a clue who they are.

Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Once the celebs had been swept into the hallowed basement of Jalouse I too was invited in. I picked up a drink and swiftly headed towards the sunken seating area, viagra buy ignoring the protestations of the press girl to wait and see if there was space later on. As if! We’ve run an extensive interview with Olivia Rubin on this website and I didn’t much feel like standing around on my own anymore, so I plonked myself down next to a friendly looking bunch of people on a curved sofa. I soon discovered that the lad next to me was on work experience at a fashion magazine and somewhat in thrall to his first fashion week. Herein is revealed the ridiculousness of seating arrangements at fashion shows – at the end of the day they are completely arbitrary. Depending on who you know and whether you’re bolshy enough you can sit wherever you want, be you intern or editor.

Olivia Rubin by Karolina Burdon
Olivia Rubin by Karolina Burdon.

As guests slowly filled the club the celebrities stepped up on to the catwalk at my head height to pose for the paps. First Danielle, swishing her hair this way and that like a prime racehorse. Then, to my delight, Laura Goodger and friends from The Only Way is Essex. Don’t worry, I had to look up her full name. I did watch a few episodes, but I’m not THAT SAD. By this point I was gobsmacked by the stunning level of celeb-dom in attendance. I later discovered that another fashion PR had been approached for tickets by the *cast* of The Only Way is Essex, but had rapidly turned them down as way too tacky. I must say, I don’t really understand the logic. Rather than making me think, way-hey, this must mean Olivia Rubin is really cool, it makes me utterly distracted… anthropologically fascinated by these strange creatures.

Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

The result? I spent the entire catwalk show trying to capture Lauren pouting and preening, rather than concentrating on the clothes – which in any case were hard to see against the glare of flashbulbs. Famous model Olivia Inge certainly enjoyed herself too; gunning at friends in the audience as she pranced down the catwalk.

Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

In a way it’s a shame that there was so much flimshaw surrounding this show because Olivia Rubin makes very cute clothes that feature colourful, fun prints and simple 80s styling. To my mind not at all Essex.

As soon as the show was done the music leapt up to dancing volume, and yet more Essex girls headed to the toilets to touch up their wondrously over-wrought get ups that must surely have taken all day to perfect. I could happily have stayed next to the basins with my camera all night but Matt and I instead drank free cocktails and put the world to rights.

You can read Matt Bramford’s fabby review here. Read our interview with Olivia Rubin here.

Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey
Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey.

A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, ask but I greeted her warmly when she came through to join me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, pill gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

Kyla La Grange at Glastonbury 2010 on the Climate Camp stage
Kyla La Grange at Glastonbury 2010 on the Climate Camp stage. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim
Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim/YesGo Illustration.

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, approved performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson
Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson.

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

Kyla La Grange at Glastonbury 2010 on the Climate Camp stage
Kyla La Grange at Glastonbury 2010. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

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All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

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I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that makes the most meaningful music.”

Kyla La Grange in February 2011
Kyla La Grange in February 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” I think she has a kind of dark indie pop sensibility that is all her own, and not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.

You can read my review of Kyla’s performance at Glastonbury last summer here.

Olivia Rubin A/W 2011 by Jane Young
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011 by Jane Young.

Every now and again London Fashion Week throws out a curveball and you end up in the most random of places with the most ridiculous collection of people, nurse wondering what the hell is going on. The Olivia Rubin show was just such an occasion.

I was very early to this show – a confluence of circumstances that left me standing at the front of a line outside the Jalouse nightclub in central London until I was completely numb with cold. From my prime vantage point I was able to ogle as the paps pounced on a series of D-Z list celebrities. I recognised Konnie Huq and footballer’s wife Danielle Lloyd but after that it was anyone’s guess. In my mind it’s never a good idea for the guests to overshadow a fashion show, case and especially not if I haven’t got a clue who they are.

Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Once the celebs had been swept into the hallowed basement of Jalouse I too was invited in. I picked up a drink and swiftly headed towards the sunken seating area, ignoring the protestations of the press girl to wait and see if there was space later on. As if! We’ve run an extensive interview with Olivia Rubin on this website and I didn’t much feel like standing around on my own anymore, so I plonked myself down next to a friendly looking bunch of people on a curved sofa. I soon discovered that the lad next to me was on work experience at a fashion magazine and somewhat in thrall to his first fashion week. Herein is revealed the ridiculousness of seating arrangements at fashion shows – at the end of the day they are completely arbitrary. Depending on who you know and whether you’re bolshy enough you can sit wherever you want, be you intern or editor.

Olivia Rubin by Karolina Burdon
Olivia Rubin by Karolina Burdon.

As guests slowly filled the club celebrities stepped up on to the catwalk at my head height to pose for the paps. First Danielle, swishing her hair this way and that like a prime racehorse. Then, to my delight, Laura Goodger and friends from The Only Way is Essex. Don’t worry, I had to look up her full name. I did watch a few episodes, but I’m not THAT SAD. By this point I was gobsmacked by the stunning level of celeb-dom in attendance. I later discovered that another fashion PR had been approached for tickets by the *cast* of The Only Way is Essex, but had rapidly turned them down as way too tacky. I must say, I don’t really understand the logic. Rather than making me think, way-hey, this must mean Olivia Rubin is really cool… it makes me utterly distracted… anthropologically fascinated by these strange creatures.

Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

The result? I spent the entire catwalk show trying to capture Lauren pouting and preening, rather than concentrating on the clothes – which in any case were hard to see against the glare of flashbulbs. Famous model Olivia Inge certainly enjoyed herself too; gunning at friends in the audience as she pranced down the catwalk.

Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryOlivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Olivia Rubin A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

In a way it’s a shame that there was so much flimshaw surrounding this show because Olivia Rubin makes very cute clothes that feature colourful, fun prints and simple 80s styling. To my mind not at all Essex.

As soon as the show was done the music leapt up to dancing volume, and yet more Essex girls headed to the toilets to touch up wondrously over-wrought hair and make-up that must surely have taken all day to perfect. I could happily have stayed next to the basins all night with my camera, but Matt and I instead drank free cocktails and put the world to rights.

You can read Matt Bramford’s fabby review here. Read our interview with Olivia Rubin here.

Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey
Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey.

A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, ed but I greeted her warmly when she came through to join me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, sale gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

Kyla La Grange at Glastonbury 2010 on the Climate Camp stage
Kyla La Grange at Glastonbury 2010 on the Climate Camp stage. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim
Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim/YesGo Illustration.

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, shop performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson
Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson.

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

Kyla La Grange at Glastonbury 2010 on the Climate Camp stage
Kyla La Grange at Glastonbury 2010. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

YouTube Preview Image

All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

YouTube Preview Image

I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that makes the most meaningful music.”

Kyla La Grange in February 2011
Kyla La Grange in February 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” I think she has a kind of dark indie pop sensibility that is all her own, and not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.

You can read my review of Kyla’s performance at Glastonbury last summer here.

Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey
Kyla La Grange by Anna Casey.

A couple of weeks ago I met with angsty new folk popstrel Kyla La Grange at her management offices in central London. Her slight figure was easily missed as I walked through to the glass walled meeting room, visit this site but I greeted her warmly when she came through to join me. Kyla la Grange performed on my hastily assembled Climate Camp (RIP) stage at Glastonbury last summer, tadalafil gamely playing a beautiful semi-acoustic set in the sweltering summer heat. Today she releases her first official single – the anthemic Walk Through Walls – so let’s find out a bit more about this intriguing new musician…

Kyla La Grange at Glastonbury 2010 on the Climate Camp stage
Kyla La Grange at Glastonbury 2010 on the Climate Camp stage. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim
Kyla La Grange by Rukmunal Hakim/YesGo Illustration.

She may look very young but don’t be fooled by Kyla’s youthful exterior – she’s actually a 24 year old Cambridge University graduate. It wasn’t until her uni years that she finally found the guts to make music, performing at an open mic acoustic night called Songs in the Dark. “It was a good place to cut my teeth.” The process was very organic. She met other musicians, formed a few bands and played in some Battle of the Bands competitions. “Basically it was all very low pressure.” She loved studying philosophy, and admits that she misses the academic stimulation. “Being at Cambridge was like living in a magical piece of history… but I am incredibly grateful to be making music now.”

Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson
Kyla La Grange by Rebecca Strickson.

When the outside world of work beckoned she found herself working long hours in a high end bar, making it hard to go into the studio every morning and be creative. That and the odd bit of secretarial work kept her afloat until she was discovered by management company ATC via Rollo of Faithless fame, who discovered her songs on Myspace. She is eager to emulate the likes of Mumford and Sons and do things her own way, without the controlling hand of a label. “ATC let their artists go away and get on with it. They don’t view me purely as a money making machine; they are in it for the long haul. But I don’t anticipate selling a lot of records, ever,” she blithely tells me.

Kyla La Grange at Glastonbury 2010 on the Climate Camp stage
Kyla La Grange at Glastonbury 2010. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

The last year has been devoted to the creation of her debut album which so far hosts “too many songs” including the luscious Vampire Smile, a darkly beautiful blast of longing. But she’s in no rush. “The album will come out as and when it’s finished; the worst thing I could do would be to rush its release.” She expects it will finally see the light of day in early 2012.

YouTube Preview Image

All Kyla’s influences come from “sad music”. Having been introduced to Cat Power by a former boyfriend, You Are Free is a constant presence in her life alongside Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen. But she also likes a lot of modern bands – Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, Yeasayer, Matthew And The Atlas, Marcus Foster, Alex Winston and Band of Horses. “I only write because I’m often quite sad…” she tells me. “I don’t think I’d write if I was a genuinely happy person.” In the age old tradition of the angst-ridden artist, writing music has become Kyla’s best form of catharsis, “like running into a big open field and screaming until you feel better.” It’s as if she feels an unstoppable need to release her feelings out into the open.

Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith
Kyla la Grange by Gemma Smith.

I wonder what has prompted such a downbeat personality. “Some people just have a default mode,” she explains. “They wake up and feel a bit black inside.” She admits that this is something she has battled for a long time but insists that her mood is not affected by the outside world… she just tends to feel down most of the time. “Most people fall into one of two camps – they are either upbeat or see life from behind a big grey cloud. Everyone is a product of their genes and their experiences when they are young.” But she is absolutely clear that she doesn’t blame her parents for the way she has turned out. “Even though I wasn’t a very happy child my parents were both fantastic.” Her parents had been involved in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa before settling in Watford, and she felt very different from everyone else at her school. “Kids can be vicious.” They were massive music fans, between them inspiring her to listen to many different genres. “Dad loved folk, blues and country. Mum loved classical, rock and indie.” She now lives between Stockwell and Vauxhall. “I like the mix of people and place, the beautiful old squares next to housing estates… it’s unpretentious.”

YouTube Preview Image

I wonder if such a sensitive personality will still be able to write songs from the heart if she becomes famous. She has thought about this. “I don’t think the drive to write songs will be lessened just because people like them,” she says, “it’s not the only reason I write. I think all the best artists write primarily to get something out of the experience and I want to convey raw honest emotion because that makes the most meaningful music.”

Kyla La Grange in February 2011
Kyla La Grange in February 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

It comes as no surprise that lyrics are hugely important to Kyla, although she likes the odd “non-sensical song by The Beatles.” She can’t really describe her writing process, although it is the part she loves the most. “It’s such a strange, solitary thing. You get so swept up in what you’re feeling, engrossed in emotion.” She can’t tell me what comes first, melody or lyric. “They tend to come together.”

Kyla doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into any musical movement, so it’s no surprise to find that she lists herself as Black Metal/Children/Grindcore on Myspace. “There have been so many genres flung at me but I never think about what I belong to – the songs just come out.” I think she has a kind of dark indie pop sensibility that is all her own, and not fitting in to any musical clique suits her well. “I suppose my music is a bit all over the place, like me.” She gets thoroughly annoyed by the suggestion that women must fit into any type of separate musical category. “Music is not a sport so why do there need to be different categories and awards?”


Kyla La Grange performing on the Climate Camp stage at Glastonbury.

I ask her whether she is in general quite a solitary person, although I think I already know the answer. “Definitely. I’m not terribly good with people and I much prefer talking one to one. Groups of people are scary.” But she has grown accustomed to working with her band of four and she’s easy and down to earth when talking to me, even if an overwhelming undertow of sadness never quite leaves the room.

You can access a free download for Walk Through Walls from SoundCloud right here. The official launch party is at Notting Hill Arts Club tomorrow night, Tuesday 8th March, with the brilliant Daughter providing a support set and DJing from the Maccabees. After that she’s off to SXSW in Austin, Texas to play the Neon Gold show and she’s sure to be playing some festivals in the UK this summer. Make sure you catch Kyla La Grange soon, before she hits the big time.

You can read my review of Kyla’s performance at Glastonbury last summer here.


Illustration by Sanna Dyker

On the evening of Friday 18th February, viagra after a brief sprint via Freemasons Hall to collect my tickets, adiposity I arrived at Mercer Street Studios in Covent Garden to see Ashley Isham’s show at On|Off.

Ashley Isham is known for his dramatic red carpet frocks so it was no surprise that a few familiar faces turned out to see his Autumn Winter 2011 collection. Brendan Cole (of Strictly Come Dancing infamy) was near the front of the scrum waiting to get into the show, approved looking less than impressed that he had been made to queue with everyone else. Lots of shouting from the organisers suggested that those with a silver star on their ticket would be allowed to enter first; following a host of panicked people waving their tickets in the air it turned out most of these people had been given photocopies with a black star, oh the drama. After flashing my ticket (red spot, much less confusing) I settled into my seat, spotting Paloma Faith posing for photos on the front row.  

The inspiration for the collection was the enchanted forest, and the show began with floral printed velvet micro dresses in a vivid palette. Oversaturated pansies and berries were set against bright turquoise and forest green, punctuated by dark leaves and roses.


Illustration by Madi Illustrates

The models wore elaborate headresses with a taste of the orient; clouds of tulle were pierced by tasseled chopsticks, joined by silk peonies and blossom branches. Dark lips were a reminder that this was a winter collection. In contrast to the floral themes, the collection featured flowing layers in soft metallic gunmetal and brocade bodices with heavy embroidery and black sequins. Some darker pieces were verging on gothic, with structured capped shoulders and tulle trains. Safe Grecian draping was presented in cobalt, teal and gunmetal and featured obligatory red carpet one-shouldered shapes.


Illustration by Jo Cheung

There was a dramatic moment when one of the frailer-looking models tripped and fell after becoming entangled in her long sheer tulle skirt. A room full of gasps ensued and the poor girl had to limp off in skyscraper heels and a brave attempt at nonchalance. The combination of influences in the collection did seem a little discordant when the outfits were shown one by one on the catwalk, but when all the girls returned for the finale there was a more cohesive feel.

Overall it was an interesting and elegant collection but I wouldn’t call it adventurous. The theatrical make up and headdresses added a certain something which would have been lacking had the dresses been accompanied by a more neutral look. Having said that, I’m certain that the collection will definitely continue to appeal to the celeb masses; there was living proof on my way out back to the real world with Kimberley Walsh proudly perched on the front row…

All photography by Naomi Law.

See more of Jo Cheung’s illustrations in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration!

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,Ashley Isham, ,Brendan Cole, ,Catwalk review, ,fashion, ,Grecian, ,Jo Cheung, ,London Fashion Week, ,Madi Illustrates, ,Mercer Street Studios, ,onoff, ,Oriental, ,paloma faith, ,Sanna Dyker, ,Sexy No No No, ,Strictly Come Dancing, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | Dispatches: Fashion’s Dirty Secret


Illustration by Antonia Parker

Saying you work in fashion normally garners one of two reactions: awe with a smidgen of jealousy on the presumption all you do is swan around with fabrics and making swishy type movements before dashing off to an exotic shoot/party/event of the year, more about ambulance or utter contempt.

On arriving at a friend’s boyfriend’s drinks it was the second reaction I received. He and his friends were doing a masters degree in ethical business, seek and had I arrived dressed as Cruella DeVil with a baby’s head on a silver platter I possible would have got a warmer reception. As allegedly glamorous as fashion is, medicine it is also many people’s favourite whipping boy. Neither picture is entirely true.

Channel 4’s Dispatches programme exposed the vile, undeniably horrific and illegal working conditions of UK based sweatshops. Showing the secret film to a sweatshop surveyor, he stated these compared to some of the worst conditions he’s seen in the Far East. The conditions in the sweatshop should never be allowed to happen regardless of where it is in the world: Leicester or Laos it really doesn’t matter.


Illustration by Karolina Burdon

The UK High Street actually has some very high standards when it comes to treatment of labourers. The retailers featured, including New Look, Peacocks and Jane Norman stated their supply chains were SEDEX approved. SEDEX allows retailers to independently demonstrate their commitment to ethics. Obviously this self regulation had failed. Each retailer appeared to take on board the facts and launch appropriate investigations into sub-contracting. If only they had been more proactive in the first place.

One retailer leading the way in the UK is ASOS. In the last few months they have built on the successes of Fashion Enter, a not-for-profit enterprise, specialising in garment sampling and helped them open a dedicated ASOS factory. Having a UK based factory will not only cut transport costs, carbon footprints, and lower turnaround times for ASOS but also boost the local economy.

It’s thanks to programmes like Dispatches that public awareness of poor working conditions is being raised. This is undeniably a good thing. Sweatshops like this should not be allowed to exist.

Let’s look at the facts for a moment. The story doesn’t end there and Dispatches, to their credit, touched on it. The existence of fast fashion and super cheap clothes has a huge role to play in the existence of sweatshops. In yesteryear clothes were luxury items, to be worn over and over; to be mended and repaired, to be recycled into new garments. Not so anymore.  Some of the responsibility must inevitably fall on the heads of all of us. How often have you bought a cheap top, or bargain basement jeans, or a £15 dress that was such a steal it’d be rude not to buy it? I know I have (not the dress, but you get the picture). How often do you really think about where that has come from? The Dispatches vox pop revealed that few people actually do.


Illustration by Willa Gebbie

The fact is until UK consumers begin to demand better working conditions and simultaneously agree to pay for them little will change. When asked why UK retailers rarely manufacture in the UK anymore, the answer is simple. The UK consumer won’t pay the necessary price. Why do these sweatshops exist? Because on ever dwindling profit margins short cuts will happen. Blind eyes will be turned – a feeling echoed by both Mary Portas and Melanie Rickey in their tweets after the show. Such things are, again, totally unacceptable.

I used to get asked to make outfits for people. When I gave honest rock bottom quotes, I found most of these requests vanished. Why pay £100 for a shirt when you can go down town and get one for a tenner? Scales of economy and an essentially bespoke service aside, it’s the same thing. Regardless of who does it, every piece has to be cut, every seam sewn, and every feature, rhinestone, embellishment and sequin attached. A suit has over 140 separate pieces, a zipper five, a shirt cuff six or more including buttons and buttonholes.

A lot of work goes into the shirt on your back. Those making it deserve to get paid a living wage, and work in safe conditions. Those manufacturing deserve to make a profit. The consumer deserves quality goods at the right price. At some point someone is going to lose out. Nine times out of ten this will be the person we can’t directly see.


Illustration by Karolina Burdon

So what do we do? A little bit of research goes a long way. Check out responsible manufacturers, check out your local boutiques (a small designer is often more likely to be ethical and more importantly the chance of bumping into someone in the same outfit is greatly reduced), check out eco-fashion labels (for instance in Amelia’s new book) or places like Traid, and check out ASOS’ own brand.Your t-shirt may cost £25 instead of £5, your jeans £40 instead of £15, but in each tiny way it’ll help stop sweatshops.

As one of the members of the public on the programme stated, ‘we each have to buy within our means, but that doesn’t mean buying irresponsibly.’

To watch the documentary on Channel 4′s 4oD, click here.

Categories ,Antonia Parker, ,ASOS, ,Channel 4, ,designers, ,Dispatches, ,ethical, ,Far East, ,fashion, ,Fashion Enter, ,High Street, ,Jane Norman, ,Laos, ,Leicester, ,Mary Portas, ,Melanie Rickey, ,New Look, ,Peacocks, ,SEDEX, ,Sweatshops, ,traid, ,Willa Gebbie

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