Amelia’s Magazine | My adventures at Practicum: British Fashion, put together by the British Council in Moscow

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011
The Moscow Practicum: British Fashion crew in Red Square. All photography by Amelia Gregory. (unless I am in the pic that is)

Just over a week ago I travelled to Moscow with the British Council to talk to a group of young fashion designers from across Europe as part of a educational program called Practicum: British Fashion. I travelled from the UK with Toby Meadows, pilule who offers advice to fashion designers with the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, sales and with Janine Passley, approved an expert in buying and sustainability practices for EI8HT who consults for ASOS.

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011
With Toby Meadows, Janine Passley and Michael Salac.

It was the first time that I have flown in nearly three years. R/H the label travelled from Finland by train to reduce their carbon footprint, but unfortunately it was just that little bit too far for me to do the same…

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011 with Janine Passley and Clare Lopeman
With Janine Passley and Clare Lopeman

It’s the second time I’ve been to Moscow: the first time having been in 2007 when I went there to discover up and coming creatives for issue 8 of Amelia’s Magazine. It takes under 5 hours to fly there, which seems remarkably close for a culture that is so very different from our own.

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011 with Evgenia Gerasimova
Practicum: British Fashion 2011 was put together by Evgenia Gerasimova, seen here introducing the programme.

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011 Kristian Steinberg
Kristian Steinberg gives us his pitch.

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011 Toby Meadows
Toby Meadows in front of a giant plastic bag sculpture in the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture.

Michael Salac of Blow PR joined us the next day, as did Clare Lopeman, a fashion designer and head of fashion at the British Higher School of Art and Design. Practicum: British Fashion took place in a wonderful old industrial complex known as the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, a huge hall that was built in 1926 as a bus garage and that now houses exhibitions, a cafe, lecture halls and a fantastic bookshop.

Moscow The Garage Centre of Contemporary Culture
Moscow’s The Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture.

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011 Toby Meadows
We ate a lot of canapes!

Together we made up a hopefully non scary panel of “experts” who listened to short pitches from the designers, who came from Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Finland, Denmark, Estonia and Latvia. We then offered our opinions and advice on how to improve their businesses – in my case this invariably meant encouraging sustainable practice and prompting them to improve their online presence. The next day it was our turn to lecture on our expert subjects, in my case, How to produce good promotional material that will attract editorial coverage in magazines, and how to promote your brand successfully on social media. Just some of my favourite subjects!

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion 2011 Michael Salac
Practicum: British Fashion lecture with Michael Salac

Moscow British Council Hede Kerstin Luik
Hede Kerstin Luik from the British Council in Estonia

I like teaching and lecturing so I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it was lovely that so many people came up to me afterwards to tell me how inspired they were. I took loads of postcards with me and they all got taken which I take as a good sign!

Moscow British Council-after my talk

But what was undoubtedly the most brilliant part of the whole experience was the opportunity to meet lots of wonderfully talented people who are doing really interesting things in their own countries. Sitting at my computer all day every day I sometimes forget that I am very much a people person at heart, and I enjoy hanging out with other people. As is often the case at these kind of events some of the most important networking was done outside of official hours, when we were chatting at the hotel bar or exploring the extremely expensive rooftop bar at the Radisson Hotel which is housed in one of Moscow’s famous Seven Sisters – laughing as we all squished into the tiny lift to zoom up to the 29th floor, and then coming straight back down again when we discovered how expensive it was.

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Red Square
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Red Square

Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Red Square
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Red Square Soulland
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Red Square Soulland
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Radisson Hotel
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Radisson Hotel
Moscow Practicum: British Fashion Radisson Hotel
The incredibly fancy Radisson toilets…

We also got the opportunity to attend one of the many Russian Fashion Weeks, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, for which the British Council had flown over Lulu Kennedy of Fashion East to showcase three of her star designers: Marios Schwab, Louise Gray and James Long.

Moscow British Council-russian fashion week
Moscow British Council-russian fashion week
At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, sponsored by, ahem, Tupperware.

Moscow BC 2011-partying after fashion week
Partying after fashion week shenanigans.

I’ll be writing up that experience in a separate blog post. In the meantime here are a bunch of pictures from my time in Moscow… fun times indeed. As a result it looks as though I will be attending Fashion Philosophy Fashion Week Poland in Lodz in early May 2011. Thankyou so much Evgenia Gerasimova and the British Council!

Moscow Red SQUARE soldiers
Soldiers in Red Square.

Moscow Dior advertising
Giant Dior advertising.

Moscow BCmy legs
My legs in the lift.

Moscow BC 2011-Michael and Emilia of R/H
Michael of Blow and Emilia of R/H

Moscow BC 2011-Lovely knitwear in Solyanka
Lovely knitwear in the shop at the Solyanka nightclub.

Moscow BC 2011-Red Square
Red Square

Moscow BC 2011-Russian Dolls
Lots of Russian dolls

Moscow BC 2011-Toby Meadows on the Metro
Toby Meadows on the Metro

Moscow BC 2011-Michael Salac and Janine Passley
Michael Salac and Janine Passley on the Metro

Moscow BC 2011-Metro

Moscow British Council-Amelia Gregory with cocktail
Enjoying an EXTREMELY expensive Cherry Pepper cocktail – like a meal in one!

Categories ,1926, ,ASOS, ,Blow PR, ,British Council, ,British Higher School of Art and Design, ,Carbon footprint, ,Centre for Contemporary Culture, ,Centre for Fashion Enterprise, ,Clare Lopeman, ,D.EFECT, ,Denmark, ,EI8HT, ,Estonia, ,Evgenia Gerasimova, ,fashion, ,Fashion East, ,Fashion Philosophy Fashion Week, ,finland, ,Fortytwo, ,garage, ,James Long, ,Janine Passley, ,Kristian Steinberg, ,Latvia, ,Lisa Shahno, ,Lodz, ,Louise Gray, ,Lulu Kennedy, ,Mareunrol’s, ,Marios Schwab, ,Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, ,Michael Salac, ,Michaela Mazalanova, ,Moscow, ,Nadya Nurieva, ,Networking, ,poland, ,Practicum: British Fashion, ,R/H, ,R/H the label, ,Radisson, ,Red Square, ,Russia!, ,Seven Sisters, ,Slovakia, ,Slovenia, ,Social Networking, ,Soulland, ,sustainability, ,Toby Meadows, ,Tupperware

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Amelia’s Magazine | Q&A with Finnish fashion designers Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi of R/H Label

R/H Label by HollyMae
R/H Label by HollyMae.

You’ve read a bit about Finnish fashion designers Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi, viagra 100mg now here’s my Q&A with the R/H Label girls.

R/H Label by Sam Parr
R/H Label by Sam Parr.

How did you guys meet? Come on now, drugs tell the truth!
We met at the University of Art and Design Helsinki in 2003 – we studied at the same class for six years and became good friends. While doing our Masters studies we realised that we wanted to do our MA theses together and in doing so created the base for our label R/H. Both of us have always dreamt of having our own label and what could be better than putting all our skills together to create a fashion label.

R/H Label by June Chanpoomidole
R/H Label by June Chanpoomidole.

What’s best about working together? (and worst)
We have been doing very well for a label that has existed less than a year. The reason for that is that together we are stronger; we have the same motivation to build R/H up to become a solid fashion label. We create our own ways of working and the environment we like to work in. We always trust one other and support each other when needed. This is a tough business and it’s good to have someone to share the responsibilities and worries with otherwise it could be quite lonely. Of course we need to work well as a team and be able to put R/H the label before our own needs and visions. R/H is us but at the same time we like to think that it’s the third person in our company. For example while designing we always question each other whether it is ‘R/H style’ and think about the R/H girls and women who buy it and what kind of style we like to offer to them.

RH Label SS 2011RH Label SS 2011 dress
R/H Label S/S 2011.

The worst is that as close friends we might spend a bit too much time together talking and gossiping – sometimes it affects our working days so that the work that we are supposed to do gets held up. Of course sometimes we do not share an opinion about something that affects R/H and then we just have to discuss together and come up with the best possible solution. We definitely have our own, sildenafil personal design styles that we combine in the design process and that’s how R/H style is made at its best! Hanna has a more feminine and black style where as Emilia’s style is wilder with more colours and of course prints. There are similar aspects in our styles too. We both share the visual need to bring a rougher edge to the design. So in R/H garments the soft and beautiful is always mixed with rough details. R/H always comes with an attitude!

A/W 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou
R/H Label A/W 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou.

How do you split the work up and who is best at what?
We both do everything. It’s a small two ladies company at the moment so we have to be able to do whatever it takes to make R/H work. We share tasks with each other according to our interests and skills. There are always some tasks that are no-one’s favourites but we both try hard to take care of everything. Hanna is very good at taking care of the production process and contacts and Emilia is in charge of the PR meaning social media, magazines etc. Of course we have some people helping us out with certain tasks which we appreciate enormously!

RH Label SS 2011 mood
R/H Label S/S 2011.

When it comes to designing the collection, we definitely design together. The only thing that we have divided is that Hanna is in charge of making sure that the collection sustains its major theme and style in the cuts, the silhouette and the core design. Emilia designs all R/H prints and creates the colour world of the collection. Designing the collection is always a random group of unique situations so it’s hard to say who had the first idea. We sometimes have the same ideas, maybe because we spend so much time together. It can be that another one comes up with an idea that the other one then continues. We both design first by ourselves and then start to combine the ideas together. We like to play with the contrasts of masculine and feminine through mixing soft materials with rough details. 

RH Label SS 2011 moodshot
R/H Label S/S 2011.

What’s your biggest sources of inspiration?
We get our inspirations from different fields of life. It can be a picture in a local newspaper, a certain mood in a movie, colours combined together and seen somewhere, people you might meet and their style, atmospheres in the city at different times of year, from each other, different historical eras, artists, female anatomy, photography, music and musicians. Very often music actually!

RH Label SS 2011 leggings
R/H Label S/S 2011.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
We like to use fine materials such as silk, silk-cotton, bamboo jersey, wool, cotton and ecological reindeer leather. Most of the materials that we use in our designs are natural and the reindeer leather that we use in R/H garment details comes from Lapland of Finland. In R/H jewellery we use materials like silver, ceramic and birch wood. We produce our jewellery mainly in Finland but also in the UK. All clothing production is done in Tallinn, Estonia. The factory is very close to us and makes great quality garments. This way it is ecological and at the same time very convenient for us. Working with a quality factory that is close to where the label retails is definitely an ethical choice.

R/H Label A/W 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou
R/H Label A/W 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou.

What was the best part about our trip to Moscow? What was the most important thing you learnt?
We loved the trip to Moscow! It was so educational and at the same time so much fun. We got so many new friends and got to know a little bit of Moscow. Everybody was friendly and warm and everything was so well organised. The most important thing that we learned was that there are many fantastic designers in the world and they all share the same kind of passion and problems that we have been facing. Toby Meadows‘ lecture about the fashion business in general was very important for us.

RH Label AW 2011 black dress
R/H Label A/W 2011.

Where do you go and what do you do to relax?
We both love to travel. We also share a love for the sun as it is a rare luxury up here in Finland. We love to do picnics in the summer time in Helsinki by the sea and in the winter we go to sauna to relax. We listen to a lot of music, read books, draw or go to see a good movie. We spend time with our beloved ones and travel to our summer cottages to relax. We drink wine with our friends and have long analysing discussions about different fields of life. We both love to laugh and dance!

R/H Label A/W 2011
R/H Label A/W 2011.

What are you working on next?
We just opened the R/H Label webshop and now we are working on the R/H Spring/Summer 2012 collection. We would love to do some collaborations with different kinds of companies – not particularly fashion – so that is something that we would like to start looking into as well. We are also looking for a place to run a little shop in the centre of Helsinki. So we’ll keep you guys posted about that. 

Finally, who would your ideal stockist in the UK be?
We are still looking for one to find us! 

Read my previous article about R/H Label or visit the R/H Label website and R/H Label online shop. Keep an eye on these girls! I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of them in the UK soon.

Categories ,Emilia Hernesniemi, ,Estonia, ,finland, ,FInnish, ,Hanna Riiheläinen, ,Helsinki, ,HollyMae, ,jewellery, ,June Chanpoomidole, ,Lapland, ,Michalis Christodoulou, ,Moscow, ,R/H Label, ,Reindeer, ,Sam Parr, ,Tallinn, ,Toby Meadows, ,University of Art and Design Helsinki

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Amelia’s Magazine | British Fashion Designers at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia A/W 2011: Louise Gray

Louise Gray A/W 2011 by Abi Heyneke
Louise Gray A/W 2011 by Abi Heyneke.

For almost the entire trip to Russia I was convinced that Louise Gray was another girl in the Fashion East entourage… it was only when she stepped out to take her bow on the catwalk that I realised she was the very tiny blonde girl in sky high heels. Louise is a textile designer at heart, remedy and her colourful vision has attracted an almost unfeasible amount of hype in recent years: I tried to see her show this season at London Fashion Week but arrived too late to get into the tiny On/Off venue. This was a great way to see her show in a slightly less pressurised arena, site in front of an audience who might not be quite so frantically enthusiastic about her amazing technicolour palette.

Louise Gray A/W 2011 by Maria Papadimitriou aka Slowly the Eggs
Louise Gray A/W 2011 by Maria Papadimitriou aka Slowly the Eggs.

Louise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 by Abi Heyneke
Louise Gray A/W 2011 by Abi Heyneke

Her A/W 2011 collection lived up to expectations: all clashing primary tartans and devilishly playful spotty make up which had been slightly toned down from her London show. The first model strode down the catwalk with an amused smile upon her lips as well she might given that she was sporting a metallic blue ruffled shorts suit accessorised with helium heart balloons that drifted above her head. The range encompassed dresses, shirts and mohair coats, all worn with thigh high patent spotty boots. Peel away a few of the garments and there was usually one that could easily be worn alone by someone less daring than the Louise Gray archetype. A lot of fun, but one can only wonder what the much more conservative Russian audience thought of it all. Here’s hoping they went away inspired by the possibilities of what fashion can be.

Louise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryLouise Gray A/W 2011 Russia Photography by Amelia Gregory
Louise Gray A/W 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Louise Gray A/W 2011 by Abi Heyneke
Louise Gray A/W 2011 by Abi Heyneke

Categories ,Abi Heyneke, ,Clashing, ,Fashion East, ,Helium Balloons, ,London Fashion Week, ,Louise Gray, ,Lulu Kennedy, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia, ,Moscow, ,Multi-coloured, ,onoff, ,prints, ,Russia!, ,Slowly the Eggs, ,Technicolour, ,textiles

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Amelia’s Magazine | Brooke Roberts: New S/S 2012 Season Interview

Brooke Roberts by Cathryn Nicholson
Brooke Roberts by Cathryn Nicholson.

We first spoke with fashion knitwear designer Brooke Roberts back in 2009. Here she talks about the inspirations behind her new S/S 2012 collection, which was launched with a spectacular dance presentation at The Hospital Club in September.

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012
Brooke Roberts S/S 2012.

We first interviewed you two years ago – what has changed since then? Are you still working part time as a radiographer and if so how are you juggling everything?
It’s busier than ever! I’ve been stocked at Browns Focus for three seasons, and I’m consulting for a menswear label, while running my label and working part-time as a radiographer. It’s seven days a week at the moment!

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012 by Antonia Parker.

Your collections are created in Italy from the best fabrics – what kind of exciting yarns can you tell us about in the new collection, and what are their properties?
I’ve been experimenting with bio-ceramic yarns, which have metabolic and body temperature regulating properties. I’ve also been using retro-reflective yarns, which are a wool base with microscopic glass beads bonded to the surface. I mix these with luxury yarns like extra-fine merino, cashmere and silk for a techno-luxe effect. All of my knits are unique programmes, so mixing the yarns with the programmes allows me to create really personal and innovative fabrics.

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photo by Akeela Bhattay
Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photo by Akeela Bhattay
Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photography by Akeela Bhattay.

Why did you make the move from science into fashion. What do you miss about that world and what do you not miss at all?! Why did you decide that fashion was more important to you than radiography?
Being a radiographer means you lack autonomy in your work. I find that difficult. The medical images I create are incredibly detailed and textural, and inspire the fabrics I create. I think my science degree has given me a unique perspective on technology and design. I’m not the kind of designer who starts a collection by researching fashion history and other designers previous collections. I develop my ideas through interpreting medical images, creating digital knit programs and yarn experimentation. I then use fashion references to develop silhouettes. Fashion allows me to express my perspective on science and design. I find the two to be harmonious. 

Brooke Roberts medical inspired knitwear- Veronica Rowlands
Brooke Roberts medical inspired knitwear by Veronica Rowlands.

Why is it important to combine the science and the arts?
Combining the two enhances the understanding and interest in each field. They are inextricably linked. Science gives us the ability to understand and explain the world around us. That is powerful knowledge that can be applied creatively. A great example is the Wellcome Collection and Wellcome Trust, which funds art projects with a basis in biomedical science. Electroboutique at the Science Museum is another great example. 

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photo by Akeela Bhattay
Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photo by Akeela Bhattay
What science journals, fashion and music blogs do you recommend for a bit of inspiration?
Science and technology – Wired, New Scientist, the RSNA’s Radiology journal, Suzie Sheehy‘s blog ‘high heels in the lab‘, Google! I love looking up strange materials and gadgets on the net to develop ideas for my collections. Fashion – Vogue Italia, Stylebubble, Dazed Digital, ShowSTUDIO. Music – I’m a big Radio 6 fan – not so much a music blog reader. 

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photo by Akeela Bhattay
For your S/S 2012 collection you put on a dance performance in collaboration with Riccardo Buscarini at the Hospital Club which I was sadly unable to attend. What prompted this idea and what was the best part of the performance?
This idea came out of a video of a knitting machine made entirely of lego, which I found on Youtube. Riccardo Buscarini choreographed the piece from this, and Elspeth Brooke composed the score, which she and I recorded at one of the hospitals I work at. I operated the x-ray machines and she recorded the sound. The collection was a commentary on woman and machine, and encorporated high-tech Italian industrial knitting techniques with hand knit, crochet and hand-lacing. 

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Photo by Akeela Bhattay
The current collection is for sale in Browns Focus (including some collaborative accessories with Eye of the World), how is that doing and do you have any more plans for new stockists or designer collaborations?
The collection looks great. I’ve seen it in store and one of the styles has already sold out, so that’s great. I just returned from New York where I visited three retailers – more on that next season! I am hoping to work with Riccardo and Elspeth again, and looking forward to seeing what we can create next season. 

Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Look book image
Brooke Roberts S/S 2012. Look book image.

What is your muse for the new collection? Any sneak ideas of what to expect, and can we expect anymore exciting shows?
I don’t have a muse. Next season will be a textural delight. Technical cables, geometry and luxury. The rest is top secret.

We can’t wait to see what Brooke Roberts does next season! Catch up with our previous interview with Brooke Roberts in 2009 here and here.

Categories ,Akeela Bhattay, ,Antonia Parker, ,Bianca Wendt, ,Brooke Roberts, ,Browns Focus, ,Cathryn Nicholson, ,Dazed Digital, ,Electroboutique, ,Elspeth Brooke, ,fashion, ,High Heels in the Lab, ,Hospital Club, ,New Scientist, ,Radio 6, ,Radiographer, ,Radiology Journal, ,Riccardo Buscarini, ,RSNA, ,S/S 2012, ,science, ,Science Museum, ,Showstudio, ,stylebubble, ,Suzie Sheehy, ,Veronica Rowlands, ,Vogue Italia, ,Wellcome Collection, ,Wellcome Trust, ,Wired

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Amelia’s Magazine | Betty Jackson A/W 09

The day started off with London transport, buy visit this site as usual, doctor ruining my life. The district line was delayed/suspended/just took bloody ages, meaning that I missed the first show I intended on seeing. This was due to over-crowding at South Kensington, as Fashion Week started during half term week, cue 6 million children/parents/tourists trying to get to the Natural History Museum, along with the fashionistas….not a good mix.

By the time I got to the BFC tent, the fashion pack were filing in for the Esthetica launch. Esthetica is the only show of its kind in the world, dedicated to celebrating ethical designers. Noir kicked things off to the not-so-subtle sounds of Hole’s Celebrity Skin, with a polished but edgy collection of, perhaps obviously, black clothes. There was then a drastic music change, a choir singing Creep by Radiohead, a strangely haunting rendition to accompany the more delicate shape of the second half of the collection. With the much quieter musical accompaniment, the unfamiliar sound of hundreds of camera shutters going off can be heard and fittingly adds to the ethereal quality.

Best discovery of the day? The Fashion Bus! When I was told about it, it conjured up images of a magical, playdays-style bus of couture. In reality it’s a coach with London Fashion Week written down the side but still, it served its purpose of getting us from the main South Kensington location to the Hippodrome in Leicester Square, without having to cross the path of my arch-enemy, London transport.

The reason we trekked across town was for Ashish. And it was completely worth it, as what unfolded was far more than just a fashion show. There was live music provided by VV Brown (wearing a dress from the collection), acrobats, a big circus setting and clowns….well, not actual clowns but the pom-poms on some of the looks combined with the hyper colour clash styling surely owed a debt to Coco somewhere along the line.



And here are some snaps of what we’ll all be wearing come Autumn:





Perhaps not that last one so much…
Particular note should be taken of the amazing wedged, animal print shoe boots that all the models – and VV Brown were sporting:


This show was brilliant escapism, with some very wearable individual pieces once you separate them out from the styling. It felt like an afternoon at the circus, rather than just a fashion show, and in such a competitive week, Ashish has ensured that his show will be one everyone remembers this season.
It’s funny seeing the different crowds the different shows draw. The morning started off at the Margaret Howell studio, sick where the British establishment of fashion journalists turned out to see her A/W 09 collection. It was very, stomach well Margaret Howell, order country cosy, duffel coats, blues/greys, some cute over the knees socks and silks mixed with wools. A well put together, safe collection.



I was, excitingly, sitting opposite Alexandra Shulman though, which did take up most of my attention. British Vogue has been wiping the floor with American Vogue in recent times, and it was thrilling to be in such close proximity to her, lets face it, what fashion journalist doesn’t secretly want to be editor of Vogue?

Now onto the different crowd part. Across town, in a swanky church in Marylebone, a full scale production was taking place in aid of the Qasimi A/W 09 show. Not so much journalism elite, more, well Simon Le Bon. But his presence was so to be explained as the show began…

Melinda Neunie was also there and here’s her review of the show:

I must say the Qasimi team managed to pull in quite an impressive crowd. Their pre-show champagne reception outside the beautiful St Mary’s Church was ablaze with bold prints and bright colours, with attendees clearly taking advantage of the nicer weather.


The catwalk show was equally remarkable. Set against an exotic woodland backdrop, Qasimi propelled us into a world of fantasy, romance and passion with their A/W 09 collection. The all black luxury range exuded wealth, elegance and sophistication through sumptuous cashmere and Italian silks complete with gleaming outsized diamond accessories.


An opera sound track opened the show alongside a fantastically poised Erin O’Connor clad in a sculptured corset gown and extravagant feathered headdress. The model was closely followed by Lily Cole, Yasmin Le Bon and Jade Parfitt.

Draping gowns, corset tops and intricate stitching dominated the show, which was closed by the spectacular Carmen Dell’Orifice who couldn’t help but give us a cheeky bum shake on her way out.”



We didn’t recognise final model Carmen Dell’Orifice but everyone else did as she got whoops and cheers as she sashayed down the catwalk. The show was not at all what I was expecting, but it was epic! Seeing those famed models in the flesh, the dramatic music and, as Music Editor Prudence put it, the general Zoolander quality of it made it entertaining in the extreme.

We were penned into the lobby at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout like (well-dressed) sheep for an hour, viagra dosage but it was worth it to experience Horace’s A/W ’09 collection. The label’s founders, web Adam Entwisle and Emma Hales, website like this have made a welcome return to their androgynous roots.

Classic Horace is synonymous with distressed hand washed leather and oversized separates, and there was plenty of that to be seen. Baggy trousers contrasted with beautifully cut jackets, all accessorised with leather totes and large knitted scarves.




Entwisle and Hales continue to play with the idea of gender in their designs. Pale-faced men in tunic dresses followed women in combat boots down the catwalk to pulsing rock beats. The collection is said to embody the spirit of 18th century monks, and the modesty of a monk’s attire was reflected in the voluminous hoods and clean monochromatic palette.

Such an abundance of black layers and boots could have become repetitive, but thankfully vibrant plaid prints provided bursts of colour, evocative of London’s punk heritage. It’s small wonder Horace has built up such a cult following.

Lebanese born designer Hass Idriss showed his first collection at London Fashion Week yesterday to a very odd crowd at Belgravia’s Il Bottaccio. I say odd because the majority of the black-clad crowd sported face-lifts, symptoms and I was amongst a very small percentage of the audience who weren’t wearing any make-up (yep, the boys did too – some even applying YSL lip gloss as a pre-show fixer).

They were, however, resplendent and I’d like to thank the fabulous woman who sat three seats down from me on the front line wearing the largest, roundest hat possible. Differing from the usual up and down runway, Idriss presented his collection in an L-shaped room, with myself and the mad hatter on the second, final arm of the catwalk. I am nursing a bad case of RSI in my neck this morning as I type: straining around that hat was quite a feat.

Visual obstacles aside, Idriss’ collection was a brave and opulent one. Credit crunch? What credit crunch?

Inspiration for this first collection had been drawn from Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid. The show kicked off with a booming soundtrack and two airbrushed-gold Adonises slowly glided along the runway, followed by the first model who hopped in a skin-tight fish tail dress, aided by the Adonises and a pair of gold embelished crutches (mermaid overkill, I’d say – and a little bit silly. I mean, honestly!)


Gradually the collection grew in maturity whilst retaining the theme of the sea – luxurious weightless fabrics such as organza and tulle were enriched with sea water pearls and Swarovski crystals, reminiscent of early John Galliano for Dior Couture.



The palette was mixed, ranging from organic pastel colours, golds and creams, through to shocking reds with black to contrast. A brave craftsman, Idriss pushed his capabilities to their limits across a range of techniques, heavily reliant on embroidery to the highest standard. Cuts were quite disparate – some gowns were a-line or floated gently to the floor whilst others were sculpted around the body with severe hems. The black satin and velvet mini dress with a charcoal chapel train, titled ‘The Mermaid’, was a particular highlight.


Throughout, most of the ensembles were hits, especially with the whooping audience. A couple of misses, though – and the award for unwearability goes to this little number – a plastic transparent poncho with beaded corals (and blood, sweat and tears according to the press handout). Hans Christian Andersen will be turning in his grave. Bonkers. Overall, a daring and immodest first outing for Hass Idriss. Keep a look out in the future – you saw him here first.
At 9.15 on a Sunday morning, stomach it seemed only the most diligent (and probably least hungover) of the fashion clan that made an appearance at the Betty Jackson show. It was worth the early rise, case to say the least.
We were bombarded with a visual palette of textures, soft colours and hemlines; resembling a painting whose medium changed by the paint stroke, from smooth watercolours to thick, rougher oils to scratchy pencils. Betty Jackson kept her collection airy, light and colourful- perhaps in an effort to float past or ward off next winter’s approaching cold and heavy credit crunch scenario.

Main colour themes drifted from cupcake and candy pastels to darker, richer shades;conjuring up autumnal images- like those in Monet’s more wintry landscapes. Fur, frills and subdued shades were combined in adorable, snappy pencil skirt and blouse/knitwear combos, very Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


Jewellery was designed exclusively for Betty Jackson by Alexis Bittar, this included hand carved, hand painted lucite earrings and necklaces, whose sheer extravagance reminded us of Edie Sedgwick’s outrageous choice in accessories.

Purple tights and red belts are two of the most notable components of the collection, while some of the models wore versatile backpacks- probably Jackson’s effort to incorporate utility in what is becoming a very non-frivolous time.
Statement coats and fur boleros were thrown in for the warmth factor. Best model of the show was hands down, Jourdan Dunn.

Betty Jackson believes that “every new collection presents a new challenge, but most people feel more confident and sexy if they are comfortable” and we can see a huge representation of this in her latest designs, the bright and often outrageous colour schemes are juxtaposed in a variety of simple styles- which maintains the conservative nature of her clothes. These are garments that not only appear comfortable, but also versatile- they are not only adaptable to real, working life but also pieces you could and will wear for seasons to come.

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