Amelia’s Magazine | Matthew Miller: London Collections: Men S/S 2014 Catwalk Review

Matthew Miller S/S 2014 – all photography by Matt Bramford

I AM NOT THE ARTIST. YOU ARE‘ declared Matthew Miller‘s press release, distributed along the white benches of the Victoria House, London Collections: Men venue. It was my penultimate show and the fatigue induced by fashion shows had well and truly set in. I needed something to perk me up if I was to make it to Xander Zhou at the end of the day.

Miller‘s ethereal show opening was just the ticket. Instead of music, a woman with dulcet tones harped on about the world through the speakers. An intense gent appeared, wearing only white tapered jeans, his back penned with the gallery cliché ‘UNTITLED MIXED MEDIA‘. The philosophy of the art world was to become Miller‘s branding for this season and was swiftly followed by a long-haired model with the same motif tattooed onto his chest. He carried a skateboard and wore jeans of a similar cut, this time in jet black. I liked the drama of it all, but I did ponder how long I could sit watching shirtless models wearing staple denim stroll past.

It wasn’t long, though, before Matty Miller‘s unique approach to menswear came to life. The relationship between fashion and art is a constantly evolving theory. Is fashion art? Is art fashion-led? Miller explored this concept by utilising the stark visuals of a gallery’s environment and interpreting it through clothing. His aim was to bring the haute pretensions of the art world down a peg or two.

Luscious sweaters really perked me up and I would never be able to decide which one to buy. A white crew neck had a subtle off white panel applied to the front and featured a gallery caption square on the reverse. Others carried a circular design making use of the ‘untitled’ motif, this time in a vinyl relief. I really enjoyed those. A stand-alone black version had the crowds launching their cameras into the air; a white version peaked from behind rigid denim. A black sweater with thick monotone blocks descending to white also stood out.

Sportswear is always a key factor in his collections (that’ll be his time at Umbro) and elements of this genre featured on most garments. Paper-like tops had hoods and front pockets. Trousers were cropped at the ankle. Black leather jackets with concrete toggles complimented these looks and reminded us of Miller‘s unique approach to materials.

Shapeless silhouettes in slim, straight fabrics came in a super-light grey, teamed with matching shorts, and this technique saw Miller show womenswear for the first season – smock-like dresses used darts to form angular shapes across chests.

It was left to raw denims, cracked paint finishes and unfinished hems to complete this visually stimulating and thought-provoking collection.

Categories ,art, ,canvas, ,caption, ,catwalk, ,denim, ,Destroy to Create, ,fashion, ,Gallery, ,LCM, ,LCMSS14, ,London Collections Men, ,Matt Bramford, ,Matthew Miller, ,menswear, ,Radical Prototypes, ,review, ,skateboard, ,smocks, ,Sportwear, ,SS14, ,sweatshirts, ,Victoria House, ,Womenswear

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

Christian Blanken SS12 by Gareth A Hopkins

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Gareth A Hopkins

This presentation in particular was enjoyable from the start. Away from the rush and fuss of the main tent, pharmacy I went to explore the bright and beautiful Portico Rooms of Somerset House to find the Christian Blanken show. As I lined up, I got a peek at the other designer exhibitions and took in the quiet calm of the wooden floors and neo-classical architecture.

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Rosa and Carlotta

All photography by Rosa & Carlotta Crepax of Illustrated Moodboard

I was ushered inside a room set up with some impressive-looking mirrored panels, I took a seat and got my sketchbook and pens ready for what Mr Blanken had to show us. As the lights slightly dimmed and the music began to start I got my third compliment of the day on my Bora Aksu patterned ‘Angel’ tights which were a front-row goody bag gift and have left me wanting more from his new hosiery and accessory range.

Christian Blanken SS 2012 by Gilly Rochester

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Gilly Rochester

Christian Blanken has a very clean and cool vision for Spring/Summer 2012, defined by shades of grey, mink, and black and occasional shots of soft coral. He really developed his sharp and luxe look with an artful use of heavy ruching and sportswear-like silhouettes.

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 illustrated by Kate Eldridge

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Kate Eldridge

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Rosa and Carlotta
Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Rosa and Carlotta
It was all undoubtedly feminine, but not as you’d recognise it. Ruching? Sparkle? Soft silks and pale colours? Sweet, but not in the hands of Christian Blanken. I have never been a big fan of sweet, and like Christian count strong-silhouette designers like Azzedine Alaia and Helmut Lang as two of my favourites, but would most definitely embrace this wearable version of it for S/S 2012.

Christian-Blanken S/S 2012 illustrated by Alia Gargum

Christian-Blanken S/S 2012 by Alia Gargum

Inspired by the new Swarovski Elements ceramics collection, stingrays (which worked beautifully in print), bonded textiles and leathers, this collection is for those that appreciate tailoring, detail, and good fabrics. Christian sourced materials from Italy to get the best he could while following his aim of creating the ideal modern wardrobe without an impossible price range.

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 illustrated by Ada Jusic

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 illustrated by Ada Jusic

The show itself was even relaxing to draw; the clean lines, slicked-back hair and sharp tailoring flowed easily along the page. Even the latecomers that kept walking into the show space and were momentarily reflected in the cleverly designed set along with the models didn’t disrupt the calm.

Christian Blanken S/S 2012 by Rosa & Carlotta Crepax
As the show ended and I left the room, I felt curious to see what this Dutch-born designer comes up with next. Anyone who can make ruching and sparkle also behave in such a strong and structured way deserves attention, which he seemed to be in for as I strolled past the long line already patiently waiting for the next show.

Categories ,Ada Jusic, ,Alia Gargum, ,Azzedine Alaia, ,Bora Aksu, ,Christian Blanken, ,Clean Lines, ,Coral, ,Feminine, ,Front Row, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gilly Rochester, ,Goddy Bag, ,Helmut Lang, ,Hoisery, ,Illustrated Moodboard, ,Kate Eldridge, ,London Fashion Week, ,Rosa & Carlotta Crepax, ,Set Design, ,Sparkle, ,Sportwear, ,Spring/Summer 2012, ,Swarovski, ,Sweet

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Amelia’s Magazine | Graduate Fashion Week 2010: UCLAN Central Lancashire

Emma Box, find illustrated by Lesley Barnes

So, reigning champions (or at least winners of 2009 Gold Award) UCA Rochester took to the catwalks on Tuesday to show their wares in a bid to cling on to their title amongst the heavyweights we’d already seen at Graduate Fashion Week.

I’m very pleased to announce that they certainly put up a good fight. With a simple chandelier hung from the ceiling above the catwalk, the show began with a rather long romantic song – thank God too, because my guest was running late and he managed to sneak in during the song in the nick of time.

First up was Alexa Papavasileiou who presented a modest yet striking collection that packed a few discrete punches (okay, I’ll stop with the boxing metaphors now). Body-concious printed dresses with full-length sleeves wrapped models in organic suits, while drapes hung over the models creating flattering lines. The most interesting twist was the appearance of constructed stilettos which had a grungy, paper mache effect and gave this sleek collection an edgy twist.

Other escapades in weird and wonderful shoe design were brought to us by Lydia Vousvouni, whose deconstructed womenswear tailoring had a futuristic feel, teamed with crazy shoes that looked like art deco sculptures.

Lydia Vousvouni, illustrated by Abi Daker

Rebecca Watson in stark contrast dressed her models in very eery skeletal masks, bringing a little touch of death-glamour to the runway. The clothes in comparison were relatively simple, consisting of cropped-sleeve tops, two-tone leggings and some pretty neat tailoring.

More digital prints on the catwalk; this time in Emma Box’s structured collection. Micro-skirts and leggings in said prints were teamed with bolero-length jackets with exaggerated shoulders, giving models a dash of sex appeal and masses of style.

Digital prints again, from the Gareth-Pugh-esque Alex Oliver. Her models were transformed into futuristic creatures, with emphasis on shoulders (huge, huge shoulders). Catsuits or short dresses in a psychedelic print were teamed with leather jackets with scary spikes; the climax being a model with a Margiela-style eye covering as part of a hood. It was scary but sexy at the same time.

Alex Oliver, illustrated by Lesley Barnes

The first menswear collection from Rochester was that of Chelsea Bravo, whose models had the appearance of modern-day gladiators. Smock t-shirts with scoop necks emphasised muscular form and Chelsea’s palette of muted colours including sand, burgundy and blue had a sophisticated edge.

Vicky Jolly presented one of the most sophisticated collections I’ve seen this year. Her couturier-like craftsmanship created elegant dresses, with twists and turns in fabrics flattering the female form.

Vicky Jolly, illustrated by Alli Coate

Finally, after what felt like waiting for decades, Hallam Burchett ramped up the glamour factor to a big fat 10. Models sashayed and swished their hips to Donna Summer’s Bad Girls whilst wearing an all-green silky collection, embellished with dazzling crystals and accessorised with demi-gloves. Sod the tits or legs rule in Burchett’s short, short strapless dress and flaunt what you’ve got at the disco! This 1970s-inspired collection had the cuts and lines to make it contemporary, though.

More menswear now, from Anachee Sae Lee and Cherelle Reid. The former was a contemporary take on colloquial dressing and conjured up images of Sherlock Holmes, Oliver Twist, chimney sweeps and Victorian funeral directors all at the same time. High values in tailoring made this a tip-top collection, with fitted suits teamed with neck-bows and crisp shirts with bib detailing were accessorised with sleek shirt-armbands and porkpie hats.

Anachee Sae Lee, illustrated by Abi Daker

Cherelle Reid, whilst employing similar tailoring elements, was an entirely different look. In a strong micro-collection worthy of a slot in any upmarket store come Autumn Winter 2010, models wore silky harem pants which tapered tightly, low-cut v-neck tops and formal jackets. The craftsmanship look exquisite, but the pecs were a bit much *fans brow*

In amidst a whole load of futuristic and structured collections at GFW this year, a welcome breath of fresh air came from show closer Carla Grima. Her magical Grecian-inspired collection was a burst of much-needed colour, and while it wasn’t a clangy hipster spectacle like some show finales, it was understated glamour at its best. Each dress created an illusionary effect as it hung effortlessly from the models, flattering their waif figures.

Having written this post-Gala Show, I now know that UCA Rochester didn’t manage to hold onto their crown as Gold Award winners for 2010. Amongst so much incredible talent, it’s so difficult to stand out. Nevertheless, each collection was incredibly strong, astonishingly creative, and never, ever boring.

Rochester, you’re all winners anyway.

Danielle Reed, malady illustrated by Gabriel Ayala

The Central Lancashire show was an upbeat, approved patriotic affair. Models strutted down the catwalk to a stonking soundtrack provided by students from the performing arts department, and we waved collections along with the cute Union Jack flags left on each seat.  

The clothes were a lot of fun too – with the standout students playing around with conventional British icons – from Beefeaters and Big Ben to British school uniforms.  

Kirsty Stringfellow created interesting textures with her whimsical collection of knitted designs. Column dresses in thick, appliquéd floral cream ruched across the models’ chests like a curtain, and were adorned with sparkly crochet, printed lace and gold netting. Whilst some of the curtain-esque dresses seemed a little heavy, Stringfellow is clearly gifted at manipulating different textures – the fine-knit cream designs with intricate layers of ruffles were sheer romance.  

Kirsty Stringfellow, illustrated by Zarina Liew

On the other end of the scale, Danielle Reed and Rachel Wolstenhome both had fun with a tough, urban take on sportswear. Reed paired white bobby socks with black Dr. Martens, black grommet-laced waistcoats with slouchy joggers and manipulated aertex fabric into loose jumpsuits. The effect was a strong collection of grunge-inspired sportswear, with PVC fabrics and a monochrome palette adding a gothic edge.  

Danielle Reed, illustrated by Gabriel Ayala

Wolstenhome created the sole male collection on show, and her futuristic sportswear borrowed shapes and fabrics from a manner of sportswear, a mash up of scuba-esque one-pieces, foam hoods, and deconstructed jersey sweat pants, with cut-out holes and harem-style drapes and folds.  

Rachel Wolstenholme, illustrated by Aniela Murphy

A special mention should also go to Sunny Kular for her attempt to spice up school uniforms with Indian elements. We loved seeing that boring grey fabric we remember from our school days twisted into sari shapes, ties and blazers in Ikat prints and jackets emblazoned with a ‘Ganesh’ school badge.  

Sunny Kalar, illustrated by Donna McKenzie

But UCLAN’s strongest suits are clearly printed textiles, forming the basis of two of the most eye-catching collections.  

Jessica Thompson’s surreal collection of printed designs was full of quirky, cartoonish imagery, manipulated onto a spectrum of designs, from fitted shift dresses to sporty anoraks. Everything demanded attention, from the Beefeater printed slip that made the model into a marching drummer, to the dreamy shifts emblazoned with chimps and birds.

Some images were distorted into unrecognisable shapes and quirky patterns, forcing a closer look.  The final piece was a red, floor length printed mac, that looked like it was printed with moon craters – the coolest cover up for a rainy day.  

Jessica Thompson, illustrated by Gemma Milly

Saving the best till last – Sara Wadsworth’s amazing printed collection chimed with the patriotic mood. The whole collection was crafted in chiffon, printed with British icons – the Union Jack, Big Ben the London Eye and what looked like parts of Trafalgar Square, all blown up, re-sized, and patterned across wisps of fabric.

Sara Wadsworth, illustrated by Abi Daker

Wadsworth let the prints do the talking, choosing almost sheer chiffon in muted shades of grey, white and occasional splashes of olives and teal. Bright yellow bras peeked out from beneath the designs, ranging from floor length kaftans to a Vivienne Westwood-esque draped dress, and a sweet smock top and short combo. Who would have thought our most touristy landmarks could be re-imagined into such wearable designs?

Images courtesy of

Categories ,Appliqué, ,Beefeaters, ,Big Ben, ,british, ,Central Lancs, ,Danielle Reed, ,Dr. Martens, ,Earls Court, ,Ganesh, ,Graduate Fashion Week 2010, ,India, ,Jessica Thompson, ,Kirsty Stringfellow, ,knitwear, ,london, ,london eye, ,menswear, ,print, ,PVC, ,Rachel Wolstenholme, ,Sara Wadsworth, ,School Uniform, ,Sportwear, ,Sunny Kular, ,textiles, ,Tourism, ,Trafalgar Square, ,UCLan, ,Union Jack, ,Vivienne Westwood, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | James Small: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Menswear Catwalk Review

James Small A/W 2012 by Krister Selin

Last season I got myself into a bit of a state at the James Small show, solely because fashion superhero Kate Moss was in attendance. Apparently the Mossinator and Small are BFFs, so it was no surprise when I entered the Fashion Scout venue to find all sorts of camera-wielding maniacs. Everybody had a look of acute desperation, and as I tried to decide where to sit to get a good photograph OF THE CLOTHES THAT WE’D COME TO SEE, it soon became clear that it might be impossible.

James Small A/W 2012 by Lorna Leigh Harrington

It was mental. People stood on the catwalk brandishing their cameras whilst producers gave lectures of a ‘STRICTLY NO PHOTOGRAPHS OF KATE‘ nature. Despite this, fashionos shuffled in their bags to dig out every possible photograph-taking device they had – iPads, iPhones, Blackberries, Disposables – you name it, they wielded it. I could feel myself getting more and more irate, mostly because I knew I wouldn’t be able to even catch a glimpse of her. It was pretty evident when she arrived – the room fell deadly silent and then hushed whispers echoed around the grand hall. Thankfully the ordeal ended there. When Kate’s in, we’re off.

I do love the alternative catwalk in the Freemason’s Hall, it has something a bit more ‘fashion’ about it, but the lighting isn’t particularly brillballs so apologies in advance for my substandard photographs.

James presented another small but perfectly formed collection. Entitled ‘Dark Arctic‘, James, like many others on Menswear day, dressed the explorer; kitting out models for extreme climates and expeditions.

James’ interpretation of how we’ll survive extreme weathers comes in the form of coats with (what I hope is faux) fur. One number had a peacoat body with fur sleeves, while another flipped this idea creating the look of a gilt worn over a blazer. This brought whoops and cheers from the crowd, which would continue throughout the show. Models had long hair tied in sprayed pony tails, continuing James’ love of texture.

James Small A/W 2012 by Lorna Leigh Harrington

Next came James’ staple tailoring with an athletic aesthetic we’re getting used to in menswear. Coats came with belts that tied around the waist or buttoned to one side, worn with skinny jeans. Baggy dungarees followed in luxe greys with straps that crossed at the back, worn over engineered shirts or plaid. We also saw tartan (TARTAN!) coats, styled similarly to the previous ones, and athletic pants with contrasting arch detail on the inside.

James’ collections always leave me wanting more – his 14 or so looks were exceptionally coherent but a few more variations wouldn’t go amiss. I mean this in the nicest possible way.

Oh, and here’s a picture of Kate from last season. She looked exactly the same anyway.

All photography by Matt Bramford

Categories ,A/W 2012, ,Belts, ,Blackberry, ,Dark Arctic, ,Dungarees, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Fur, ,ipad, ,iPhone, ,James Small, ,Kate Moss, ,Krister Selin, ,London Fashion Week, ,Lorna Leigh, ,Lorna Leigh Harrington, ,Matt Bramford, ,menswear, ,photography, ,Sportwear, ,Tartan, ,Texture, ,Vauxhall Fashion Scout

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Amelia’s Magazine | Baartmans & Siegel: London Collections Men S/S 2013 Presentation Review

Baartmans and Siegel S/S 2014 by Hannah Smith

Bright and early on the last day of London Collections: Men, I raced to Covent Garden to catch Baartmans and Siegel‘s S/S 2014 presentation.

All photography by Matt Bramford

The design duo presented this season’s wares in an unused shop on Earlham Street. Inside, their eight models stood on breeze blocks in front of stark white walls, enveloped by a jungle of plants. With A/W 2013′s collection of Arctic-worthy puffas and parkas ingrained in my mind, this was clearly a cohesive move towards spring and summer fun.

I’ve talked about the merits of a presentation vs. a catwalk show before, but this was the perfect example. If these models were to have walked past a lightning speed, you’d never get a flavour of the expert craftsmanship and hidden details that go in to a Baartmans and Siegel collection. You’re also made acutely aware that models are told to Blue Steel into your camera, which can make for hilarious results. I never, ever know what to do after they’ve shot me a look. Sometimes I nod, sometimes I smile, sometimes I pretend to fiddle with the settings on my camera; I’ve even been known to do a little bow or curtsy, which is incredibly embarrassing.

SS14′s ‘South Pacific Aviation‘ sees Wouter and Amber seek subtle inspiration from the joys of adventure and exotic escapism. With elements of military and utilitarian uniform, a resounding feature of a Baartmans and Siegel collection is always a strong focus on the beauty of textures. Rich silks, brushed cottons, jersey, perforated suede, wools – you name it, they make excellent use of it.

Basics like tees and tailored shirts came in off-white, but were dominated by a sea of varying blues and blacks for a masculine effect. Most forms of the jacket were given the B&S once-over; a bomber with silk sleeves, a trench with zip details, an elongated Harrington and parkas in paisley Broderie Anglaise.

Polos and t-shirts were layered in a loose, nonchalant way. Mesh tops added another texture, contrasting with the softness of jacket materials.

Slick, wet-look hair styles, shades and Sauconys added an extra modern dimension to Baartmans and Siegel‘s firmly established classic aesthetic.

Categories ,Baartmans and Siegel, ,Blue Steel, ,bomber, ,Covent Garden, ,Earlham Street, ,fashion, ,Hannah Smith, ,Harrington, ,LCM, ,LCMSS14, ,london, ,London Collections Men, ,Matt Bramford, ,menswear, ,military, ,parkas, ,Saucony, ,South Pacific Aviation, ,SS14

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