Amelia’s Magazine | SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution at Somerset House

Image courtesy of Rachael Oku

Earlier last week I ventured down to Somerset House to see the eagerly anticipated SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution exhibition which charts this rise of the iconic website from its creation in 2000. This large-scale retrospective of sorts was bursting to the seams with installations of some of the best videos, viagra 100mg podcasts, there interviews and most importantly– live projects. Split over two levels, as I entered I was greeted with a room comprised entirely of mirrors that were designed to make each person entering ‘really’ look at their reflection. After a few moments of looking at myself and feeling rather vain and awkward I felt obliged to move on and make way for the hoards of teenagers waiting to pull pranks on each other and the non-suspecting public.

Naomi- image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

In the next room I found a giant 3-D sculpture of Naomi Campbell, which was linked to an etch-a-sketch computer where visitors could get involved and draw images which were in turn projected onto Naomi’s imposing frame. Interestingly I discovered after my visit that there were several hidden cameras dotted around the Naomi sculpture to record the best comments made by visitors, so I was very relieved that I had gone alone therefore having no one to talk to.

There were many great fashion moments and highlights peppered throughout this exhibition. I think the best was watching a loop of the project ‘More Beautiful Women’ which pays homage to Andy Warhol’s ‘Thirteen Most Beautiful Women’ screen tests of 1964. It’s based on a simple idea where Nick Knight invited several iconic models from the 1960’s through to the present day and asked them to stand in front of a video camera for two minutes. Models involved were Twiggy, Marie Helvin, Kate Moss, Liberty Ross, Stella Tennant and Gisele to name but a few. The best clip that I saw was that of Stephanie Seymour who looked rather bored throughout and remarked ‘This is the longest two minutes of my life!’ This was sheer brilliance in its subversive undertones both perpetuating and playing upon the underlying opinions most people have of models.

'Freedom of Love'- image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Another project that was popular with all visitors was the 2004 collaboration between Brad Pitt and SHOWstudio titled ‘Freedom of Love’. The short film depicted Pitt frantically painting over an enlarged passport sized photograph of himself adding in captions and blurbs, whilst reciting Breton’s sixty line poem of the same name. Whilst I was there this installation drew the biggest crowd and I believe was so popular due to Brad Pitt’s global fame and heartthrob status rather than everyone’s love of the great poet Breton.

Image courtesy of

Just when I thought the exhibition was coming to an end I stumbled upon a small section dedicated to Fashion Film, which was comprised of a reel of 16 short films created for SHOWstudio. My favourite was titled ‘Sheena is a Punk Rocker’ which depicted a topless and rather energetic Kate Moss doing a frantic pogo dance which saw her head banging. This was great as I feel it showed much more of her personality than you could possibly gleam from a still image and also had a funny moment near the end where she started ripping the paper background and gets so into it that she suddenly falls to the floor which is the finishing shot.

All fans of would absolutely love this exhibition as it was great to see highlights of the work together in one place, but most importantly it was humbling to see how fashion in general has progressed during this past decade which I feel can partly be credited to Nick Knight and the wealth of contributors who make up the SHOWstudio team. Over the years it has really pushed the boundaries of what is possible and helped guide fashion into the mainstream sphere by applying and manipulating all the modern technologies available to bring it to the masses, whilst looking forward to new and innovative ways to make fashion even more engaging. SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution is running until 20 December 2009 and costs £5.

Categories ,Andy Warhol, ,Brad Pitt, ,Breton, ,Gisele, ,Kate Moss, ,Liberty Ross, ,Marie Helvin, ,Naomi Campbell, ,Nick Knight, ,SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution, ,Somerset House, ,Stella Tennant, ,Stephanie Seymour, ,twiggy

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Bora Aksu (by Amelia)

W 2011-W 2011-IMG_4205

LFW A/W 2011, mind Florian Jayet. Illustration by Alison Day

I spent London Fashion Week staying at my parent’s house. My childhood home with a new kitchen, approved dog ‘brother’, purchase central heating that works and a bath. I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed having my porridge made in the morning. Maple syrup on the side, and a herbal tea, packed lunch filled with snacks. That’s right, I lapped it up. Although Charlie is an excellent boy/man, there is nothing quite like the mother. However they live a few miles outside of Brighton, in a village. Thus the trek to London, the long days and write ups – intense. All because I LOVE it. Love words, fashion, and obviously, this mighty magazine. Yet I deliberated with coming to London for one show on Sunday. Day of rest day normally means Roast dinner. But I have in my mind, ‘NO HELS! SAY NOT TO NOTHING!’ at all times. I’m following my writing dream after all. This causes me great pleasures and enormous pains. So, of course, one show or not, I was on that train to London Victoria. And am I glad I made the effort for Fashion Mode?

Yes. Three shows in one; three excellent shows. I’m going to split Fashion Mode into three posts, because each designer deserves the love. So we will start with Floriet Jayet.


Illustration by LFW A/W 2011, Florian Jayet.Alison Day

Initially I was slightly terrified and in awe of the models coming out. Nothing different to every show you might say. But, this was different, because the models had metal contraptions of their heads that made them look like a cross between special aliens and orthodontic patients. Four strips of silver metal came over their heads from the back, to touch their faces, with an enormous roller at the back. After my initial fear, I decided that they looked cool, as inevitably happens at LFW. See: ‘Urg… ahhh.. yah, I totally get that now. I want one.’ Although I’m not sure I would wear one of these creations, I would certainly consider wearing the dresses, which the metal complimented perfectly. Wiggle space lady, that’s what you are. With lasers from your eyes and hips.

Florian Jayet is a graduate in Biology which explains his science appreciative designs. The dresses featured strong shoulders, midi length skirts and padded fabrics. The shape of the woman has been celebrated and appreciated as if it is meant to be seen and not covered – raw biology. The models reminded me of those in Huxley’s; Brave New World. Perfect, angular and although feminine, minus the romanticism and emotional sentimentality, that are sometimes conjured by designs. In a sense Jayet‘s pieces are actually a mix of previous, and our vision of future, ideologies. The restricted, but beautiful shapes of the 20s, 30s and 40s appear to have been fused with modern and excessive details; i.e. the shoulders. The contemporary complimenting the past, and particularly with reference to French houses; Chanel and Dior. This makes for a very sophisticated and composed look. It made me want to look closer, at every detail, and know more. As opposed to held within the ruffles, the corset and the red heels, everything seemed so wrapped up, with the story inside. It was whimsical in its own way, and also impenetrable. These outfits are those that I would hope to find in the corner of a cafe in Paris, smoking, mysterious, alone – with a steely, but far away look.

I adored the padding details and the shrug wraps. Space lady, dressed for dinner. The long dresses had a Japanese feel to them, geisha like and graceful. Florian Jayet said that the focus for him, is to create; ‘a fetish wardrobe, pieces that a woman can keep forever, bringing them out on special occasions when she needs to be propelled into confidence and strength.’ It’s fair to say that you would feel empowered wearing Jayet’s pieces. The creams and blacks, shoulders, padding and midi length skirts would have me stomping and demanding like a glossy magazine Editor with somewhere to be. However at the moment it’s more probable I would be the space lady in the cafe, with a triple americano (having no affect), internally reliving or hoping for something. With an unreadable face, it’s unclear as to what scene could be playing in the mind of this space femme, but in a way it’s romantic.

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Danielle Shepherd
Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Danielle Shepherd.

Bora Aksu is one of the most unassuming and down to earth men I’ve ever met, and let alone in the land of fashion – which is why it is so bizarre that his shows attract such a high level of celebrity interest – I can’t for one moment imagine that he courts it himself…

Twiggy at Bora Aksu. Amelia Gregory
Twiggy at Bora Aksu. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

It was only after I’d planted myself down in the front row that I realised I was in the thick of a celebrity pap fest. Twiggy was busy giving vox pops to my left and Marina of Marina and the Diamonds fame came stomping past inches from my nose in a bid to find a spare patch of front row action. I kept my head down, stomach so it was only after the show that I realised I’d been sitting only a few bodies down from ex Sugababes’ star Keisha Buchanan, information pills as she stood for an awkward and heavily photographed air kiss reunion with Girls Aloud’s current fashion darling Nicola Roberts, whose incredible thinness was enhanced by the halo of flashes going off behind her. I could hardly leave the venue for the ensuing scrum. Memo to self: try to avoid sitting in the thick of celeb land next time.

Marina by Artist Andrea
Marina in an amazing mice encrusted jumper by Andrea Peterson.

Last season Bora took a step away from the Somerset House action to show at the considerably smaller venue at Victoria House, and in reflection of this step down his collection seemed slightly lacking in confidence. But for A/W 2011 he was back in the big tent, and proving once more that he is at the height of his powers.

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Donya Todd
Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Donya Todd.

Gun metal grey is a favourite Bora colour, and the collection flew off the starting blocks as it meant to continue, with a gorgeous bustle-backed party frock in metallic fabric and wool, highlighted by a slash of emerald green at the waist and in the underskirt – a colour that was to take second place only to his beloved grey this season.

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Alia Gargum
Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Alia Gargum.

Bora staples: lace, sheer chiffon, cable knit and corsetry lacing were all present and correct, bound and wound around the models in cunning arrangements. Playful inspiration was found in the form of tuxedos and bow ties, Bora playing with proportion, placement and trompe l’oeil effects.

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

As usual some of the dresses called to mind a suit of armour, contouring the female form. As the collection progressed the models’ delicate features became evermore bound in black gauze before they grouped in formation to take their final turn on the catwalk – a trend that was to be repeated throughout the week at various shows.

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Bora Aksu has an extraordinarily clear vision that keeps getting stronger and stronger: feminine without being too girly, clever without being unwearable, recognisable without being samey and continuously innovative. He is without doubt one of the most individual and idiosyncratic designers working in the UK today. Roll on S/S 2012.

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

You can read Georgia Takacs’ review here and Jemma Crow’s review here. Or you can check in with my intimate interview, posted last September. We’re big fans, what can I say?

Bora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia GregoryBora Aksu A/W 2011 by Amelia Gregory
Bora Aksu A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Categories ,Alia Gargum, ,Andrea Peterson, ,Bora Aksu, ,Bow Tie, ,Danielle Shepherd, ,Donya Todd, ,Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, ,girls aloud, ,Keisha Buchanan, ,Marina and The Diamonds, ,Nicola Roberts, ,Sugababes, ,Sweeny Todd, ,trompe l’oeil, ,Tuxedo, ,twiggy

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Bora Aksu (by Georgia)

Illustration by Gilly Rochester

It was Day 1 at Somerset House and I was surrounded by all those fashion bigwigs at Caroline Charles; sure to have just flown in first-class from the closing New York Fashion Week and before that whichever glamorous corner of the Earth they resided. The BFC Catwalk space, page therefore, kicked off with a sure-fire reminder of where we were; London. Just in case anyone forgot.

Illustration by Maria Papadimitriou

??It was all about the classic, home-comfort elements of good-old British style. You had your checks, your lace, your chiffon, your wool winter coats that your mother forced you in when you were young and now just can’t get out of.??

Most garments were intrinsically minimalistic. There was very little print. The fabric palette didn’t stretch too far and no real attempt towards a-symmetric cuts or daring features was made. Despite such profuse amounts of plain-Jane style, however, a subtle sexiness arose from those full-sequined dresses in bright red and sultry black as well as the odd combination of tiger and leopard print. It was bad taste turned classy.??

Illustration by Gilly Rochester

The collection’s silhouette held a strong focus on the waist with delicate belts cinching-in wool shift dresses and chiffon floaty creations. There was a barely a bold moment throughout the entire show but one thing was for sure: everything had style.
Furthermore (as has been featured countless times this season), bows were a primary focus for Charles. She placed them on bowler hats, made them out of black ribbon tied around the neck and pulled them round to the rear of high-waisted trousers.

Illustrations by Maria Papadimitriou

Some of the combinations of textures, however, were a little iffy for me. Black leather pencil skirts with brown lady-like jackets? It just didn’t click. I also wasn’t keen on the injection of equestrian riding hats and low pony-tails. It was oh-so-boring and that kind of look, for me anyway, completely lacks any sort of style or attitude. Perhaps a ploy made my yet-another designer to turn the head of Kate Middleton as the Royal Wedding approaches? Maybe so.

Photographs by Georgia Takacs

Amidst the elegant and some-what calming classical music, however, I was agitated by lady-with-hideous-hat who was inconveniently featured in most of my photographs. There was a bit of a frenzy around her and THE HAT after the show. I couldn’t begin to understand why and marched past indifferent and utterly confused.??

All in all, a largely predictable and collection from a classic London dress-maker. It’s endearing, however, to see a leading designer of 47 years to continue delivering a fail-safe iconic style which will forever be appreciated. And with so much sophisticated femininity around this Autumn/Winter season, it certainly set the scene for what was to come and offers a solid reference to anyone embracing ‘The Woman’ next season.

Illustration by Sandra Contreras

Jena.Theo, more about made up of Jenny Holmes and Dimitris Theocharidis, more about who met at the London College of Fashion, approved clearly want to be rock-chic at heart, and the show was like a highly anticipated gig with fashion editors literally fighting for seats (I’m not kidding it was crazy). So a bit of a manic start then!

Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

The models sashayed down the catwalk whilst the clothes beautifully draped and flowed behind them and nothing was structured; it was very much a free-loving collection. A possible clanger came from the denim bubble coat (not as horrific as it sounds but still bad) and the look was slightly undone; maybe even unfinished but then maybe that’s what was intended.

The venue itself was pretty hardcore for 11am too with flashing coloured lasers spraying from the ceiling and a giant board lit up behind the models leaving us in no doubt as to what show we were at. They might as well have told us to get our rave on whilst referencing Valkyrie as the collection was aptly known.

Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

Something always gets me though at these shows and it’s when the designers decide that ‘normal’ make up isn’t enough for their show, they need something a little kooky. Jena Theo decided that each model needed a black ‘Michael Stipe’ esque stripe across their eyes and to me it just wasn’t needed. Not that it particularly distracted from the clothes but it didn’t necessarily add anything either.

Illustration by Sandra Contreras

I’ll give them their due, after all it is their first on-schedule show this year but maybe next year the theatrical make up needs to be left out. Surely there’s enough of that in fashion!

You can saw more of Gareth A Hopkins’ illustrations in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Illustration by Jenny Robins

So I’m a big fan of Bora Aksu. He’s one of those London Fashion Week underdogs that just has that extra WOW-factor and his show always seems to be the hot ticket on Day One. And with Twiggy and Marina (of The Diamonds) in the front row, price I don’t think I was the only one with high expectations!??The show was held in the BFC Catwalk Space and, approved after being ushered into the line for those with seated tickets, I found myself standing behind a rather ratty lady from Marie Claire who literally huffed and grumbled even if my bag simply brushed her arm. It’s called a queue, darling.

Illustration by Joe Turvey

Hoards of hipsters then made their way into the line behind me (men in wedges, copious amounts of fur and red lipstick – you know the drill) hence this was the moment I knew I was in the line allocated good seats. Front row was, therefore, choc-a-bloc with extreme scenesters and second row wasn’t bad at all when one clocked onto the masses that were standing in any space available. Fashion Week does seem very busy this time round.

Live catwalk illustration by Jenny Robins

Twiggy! All photography by Georgia Takacs

I passed Twiggy’s name on a piece of paper and, upon her arrival moments later, the paps were crazy around her. I could just about see her smile, flashing amidst the flurry. Surrounding her on the front row were the likes of Nicola Roberts and Tallulah Harlech.

Illustration by Joe Turvey

As the lights were just about to dim, the fierce Marina Diamandis – arms adorned with tumbling knitted mice – was ushered to the seat right in front of me by a crazed front-of-house lady belting ‘Make way! Move along!’, probably resulting in some poor lady writing for Grazia sitting cross-legged on the floor. Fashion, eh?

Marina Diamandis

Show time. Bora Aksu didn’t hang around. Dark music and a-symmetric power dresses immediately stormed the catwalk. It was all about sharp tailoring with wool blazers and-the-like including a reoccurring little bow placed high at the neck, either tied there or on the dress. They were, in fact, appearing everywhere – on belts, the backs of dress and even hanging down from the backs of skirts. Bows are big this season!??One thing was for sure, Aksu was clearly enjoying the green. Shirts and underskirts blazed with a bright emerald hue amidst a largely classic palette of greys, charcoals and, of course, black. Green definitely stood out. And it stole the show.

Illustration by Joe Turvey

The dresses had countless genius intricacies – such is the genius of Aksu himself! Every garment had a mix of textures, fabrics, colours and structures. Hemlines were either short-and-sexy or floor-length – the two trends that seem to be dominating, this season. It’s either one extreme or the other, which I LOVE.

Hemlines are greatly important, often defining a silohette, and they were paid great attention to here creating an imposing, powerful image.

With frizzy back-combing and casual back-dos, the hair was understated messy glam. As was the make-up with pale skin and hints of brown. This natural grooming was a definite side-step away from the often mind-boggling intricate creations of Bora Aksu who, once again, delivered a fashion force to be reckoned with!

You can saw more of Jenny Robins’ illustrations in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,Bora Aksu, ,Catwalk review, ,Emerald, ,hipsters, ,lfw, ,London Fashion Week, ,Marie Claire, ,Marina & the Diamonds, ,Nicola Roberts, ,Tallulah Harlech, ,twiggy

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Bora Aksu (by Jemma)

Bora Aksu London Fashion Week AW11
Bora Aksu by Lisa Stannard

Bora was the hot ticket on Saturday night and it was typical that all the big fashion editors were otherwise engaged, pills ok so they were at Downing Street with the queen of political fashion Sam Cam but I bet they were gutted. In fact I was quite impressed with myself getting a seat right by the models entrance and plonking myself right on the end….that was until the show got soo full up that the side of the stage was crowded with a gazillion people blocking my photographic view. Oh well.

Bora Aksu London Fashion Week AW11
Illustration by Lisa Stannard

Aksu is a graduate of the Central Saint Martins MA (who isn’t these days?) so since 2002 he has been working through his collections and gaining the title of “star of the show” by many newspapers which lead him to his first debut collection off schedule in February 2003. Suzy Menkes is even a fan, mind not an accolade to be taken lightly. Intriguingly Bora Aksu was intent on dressing models in chiffon headband. Now these weren’t ordinarily tied around the head but wrapped in a variety of criss cross styles almost like a facial sling; not that that’s a slur I loved it. Aksu’s aspiration is to “find balance point between contrast [and create romance] with a darker twist.”

Bora Aksu London Fashion Week AW11
Photoography by Jemma Crow

It certainly was a darker show inspired by Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde with Marilyn Manson’s rendition of Sweet Dreams accompanying the models. Although looks were tailored there was an old-fashioned Victorian feel to the collection with bustle style skirts on dresses and bow ties. It even seemed that Aksu had taken a leaf out of Christopher Kane’s book with a green lace dress, looking to be a hot colour for the season along with red (but never together of course that would be ridiculous!) It even came in the form of silky shirts tucked into trousers. Delish!

Aksu knows how to make the OTT side of fashion into a surprisingly wearable collection. I think it’s mostly down to his subtle use of colour (the greens) and detailing (the bows and head scarves) which makes everything just that bit more interesting.

Bora Aksu London Fashion Week AW11
Photoography by Jemma Crow

As with all the popular shows we had the delights of a front row celebrity through non other than M&S sweetheart Twiggy who sat next to our very own Amelia Gregory. But the real press scrum (and I’m not using that word lightly it was a MENTAL scrum) came after the show. What with the likes of Marina from the Diamonds fame, Nicola Roberts from Girls Aloud and Twiggy making their exit, getting out of the show was easier said than done. Cue lots of pushing us plebs from the paparazzi as far as we could go just so that they could get the money shot. Not my favourite thing about these shows but it’s all got to be done. And believe me I’ve got elbows to push them back be warned.

Bora Aksu London Fashion Week AW11
Bora Aksu by Lisa Stannard

Thanks to Lisa Stannard for the illustrations. More of her work can be seen in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Categories ,Amelia Gregory, ,AW11, ,Bora Aksu, ,celebrity scrum, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Downing Street, ,Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, ,Lisa Stannard, ,London Fashion Week, ,marilyn manson, ,Marina and The Diamonds, ,Nicola Roberts, ,samantha cameron, ,Suzy Menkes, ,twiggy

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Amelia’s Magazine | Foale and Tuffin: Made in England

With our current fixation with everything 80s and 90s, ask patient it’s easy to see why the 60s have become a little side-tracked, order a little blasé, drug and so ‘a few’ years ago, when the shift dress silhouette was last in vogue. But what do we know, as a common consciousness, about the 60s anyway? Twiggy was hot, the Beatles were big and sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll were prevalent, right? But isn’t that a little bit one-dimensional and something we could have learnt from Austin Powers?

foale-and-tuffin-spotlightImage courtesy of Fashion & Textiles Museum

Fast forward to 2009 and to the Fashion and Textile Museum, who in their continual efforts to thrill and excite (as well as educate), are exhibiting a retrospective: Foale and Tuffin: Made in England. No doubt the aforementioned names mean very little to those unfamiliar with this great exhibition. However, this design duo was heralded as responsible for “Youthquake”, the creation of a youth movement encompassing teenagers who wanted to dress, shop and live differently from their parents.

Upon graduating from the Royal College of Art, the two designers decided, with only £200 to their names, to open a new shop aimed at a younger clientele. Following their own tastes in constructing simple shift dresses, trouser suits and biker jackets, their clothes were soon selling out. After Woollands stores started stocking their brand, Vogue’s new darling photographer David Bailey shot some of their pieces, and stardom was born, with their clothes gracing the editorials of Vogue, Queen, Honey and Nova.


All photographs courtesy of Becky Cope

Despite starting out by utilising their RCA background for constructing high fashion garments in high quality fabrics, they soon began to adopt a simpler, stream-lined approach more suited to their customers. Major trademarks of the pair include their creation of trouser suits for women, their use of light lace, their peter pan collars and graphic, pop prints inspired by the art of the period. Particularly famous is their double D pocket shift dress, a reference to Double Diamond ale advertising of the time.

IMGP1111Pieces that feature all of these signature trademarks are well-represented in the exhibition, with its layout mimicking their store off London’s iconic Carnaby Street. Mannequins showcase their most popular and successful designs, such as the navy lace dress with key hole neckline and peter pan collar, as well as some of their most radical, such as “Geoff’s Jacket” inspired by their boyfriends’ clothing. Sportswear was also an early inspiration, reflected in their range of light weight, coloured jersey dresses with white piping detail. Liberty prints were also important, utilising them in their designs through to the 1970s.

IMGP1122The key to their reign of success, from 1962-1972, seems to lie in the fact that they were catering to a previously ignored market and tapping into the consciousness of the period in doing so. Indeed, Tuffin has commented for the exhibition, “We made our own clothes and we realised there was a gap. So it was very much that people would make their own clothes, people would dress themselves and style themselves with bits and pieces… and we sort of jumped in and made the bits and pieces for them.”

IMGP1110When the design duo finally hung up their measuring tape, it was only to pursue families and other personal dreams. This landmark exhibition is highly significant because it dispels the myth of a singular London youth explosion more commonly associated with Quant and Biba, and instead showcases the diversity and range of changes taking place within the decade that brought us so many freedoms.

Foale and Tuffin: Made in England is showing until 24 February 2010.

Categories ,Austin Powers, ,Beatles, ,biba, ,Carnaby Street, ,David Bailey, ,Double Diamond, ,Fashion and Textile Museum, ,Foale and Tuffin: Made in England, ,Honey Magazine, ,Nova magazine, ,Quant, ,Queen magazine, ,Royal College of Art, ,twiggy, ,vogue

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Amelia’s Magazine | Fashion Listings 14th 20th September

999 it’s time, sildenafil erectile is another green focused campaign. As the website notes “We are in a state of emergency – socially, store economically and ecologically. What do we do in an emergency? In the UK, viagra 100mg we dial 999…” Well that all sounds pretty heartening until you realise that the 999 campaigns reaction to this emergency hasn’t exactly been particularly speedy so far. I can’t help feeling that the climate emergency we are facing means groups should be advocating some real direct action rather than just planting a tree or joining the 10:10 movement. However the campaign has some great initiatives to get the ball rolling and hopefully get more people thinking about the global crisis.

All illustrations by Suzy Phillips

Of course the campaign does have some credibility, it encourages people to get more environmentally friendly, and behind the celebrity endorsements 999 has some forward thinking ideas about how communities in particular can work together to create a more sustainable world. Transforming rural and urban spaces into shared land to grow food has been one of the most successful elements. Capital Growth is the place to start with a great run through of the process and steps and how to get involved. Land sharing empowers people by growing their own food and creating stronger links in communities as well as reducing the reliance on supermarkets. A definite step in the right direction.


I caught up with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the rural country celebrity chef, to talk about his part in the 999 campaign.

Can you outline what 999′s main priority is about and why you’re here today?

999 is about driving home the issue of climate change and what we ourselves can do to combat the emergency situation we have found ourselves in. I’ve come today because our aim ties in with the Climate Rush campaign, and its a great way to get talking with the local community, and of course it’s the 9th of the 9th 09.

How is the 999 campaign coming along? It doesn’t seemed to have gained as much prominence in the press such as campaigns like the recent 10:10?

It’s an on-going process, im specifically been looking at the food aspect, and as the ambassador I’m really interested in what small scale communities can do to combat the threat of climate change.

Can you please give some examples of the message your trying to get across in relation to the food aspect of the campaign?

With my books and TV series I’ve been highlighting the importance of locally grown produce and recently I’ve been pushing the idea of land sharing. The idea is to find land, whether in urban or rural spaces where people can grow their own food, there is so much land wasted around the UK that can be used. With over a thousand people on waiting lists for allotments especially in the south, it is vital we utilize all the land we can instead of relying on foreign markets for our vegetables. Food is a great way to create a cohesive community and bring people together.


How is the land sharing campaign going, have you had much success?

We’ve had over a thousand land plots given to us and up to 30,000 people signing up to the website, so it’s defiantly getting people interested. The campaign is also working with groups like the Church of England and a range of British NGOs. The National Trust for example has just given us 1000 plots of land, so although it’s quite a slow process, there’s been a real positive reaction across the country.

With your interest in climate change, have the facts about the meat industry’s huge carbon footprint persuaded you to become vegetarian yet?

No, not yet, I’m aware of the issues, and I keep by own pigs and livestock, and always advocate buying locally soured meat to keep the carbon footprint low.

So let’s hope this campaign can help to stop this emergency from escalating, with 1 day, 11 hours, 9 minutes since 999 Day, the pressure is on.

Designers in Residence @ the Design Museum
September 18 – October 31

The Design Museum’s annual exhibition of young designers begins on September 18 with site-specific works from Marc Owens and Dave Bowker. Owens is inspired by virtual realities – his work Avatar Machine replicates video gaming via a headset (above), order designed to make the wearer see themselves as a virtual character in the real world. Bowker works in data visualisation and will be re-examining the way visitors move about the Museum.


Open House weekend

Once a year thousands of London’s most interesting and historic buildings are opened to the public, sale some of which are locked up tight for the rest of the year. Although some of the most popular buildings in the centre of London have already been completely booked, drugs there are still plenty of places worth visiting.

If you haven’t got your eye on anything in your local area, consider visiting the house of Dr Samuel Johnson, of “the dictionary” fame. It’s free to visit on Friday (there will be free cake on this day) and Saturday, in honour of the great man’s birthday.


Radical Nature

This exhibition of works revolving around nature and inspired by environmentalism features pieces from architect Richard Buckminster Fuller and artists such as Joseph Beuys and Hans Haacke, as well as newer names such as Heath and Ivan Morrison and Simon Starling. Impactful and timely, there are lots of strong visual statements such as the Fallen Forest by Henrik Håkansson (above) and a visual record of the fields of wheat planted as an act of protest on a landfill site in Manhattan.


Thames Festival


One of the few fireworks displays allowed along the Thames will occur on Sunday when the Thames Festival fireworks are set off in all their glory, fired from barges between Blackfriars and Waterloo Bridge so everyone can get a perfect view. There are also events all day, including fire-eaters, an outdoor ballroom (starting to become the South Bank’s speciality) and the annual Night Carnival, where 2,000 costumed revellers bearing lanterns and luminous costumes will welcome the pyrotechnics.
Another load of talks, healing workshops and activities to get stuck into, information pills don’t forget Co-Mutiny is still on all this week in Bristol, Climate Rush are still on tour, and also make sure you get down to protest against the closure of the Vestas Wind Turbine factory this Thursday. Good luck with fitting it all in, I’m certainly going to struggle!

Illustrations by Emma Hanquist

Cambridge Climate Conference
Monday 14 Sep 2009 to Tuesday 15 Sep 2009 ?

An exciting event has been organised with international speakers and delegates involved in policy-making, business, and academia. Understanding the role of climate change policy is central to a business’s future success. Topics will include the political, economical, technological, and legal challenges and solutions for decarbonising electricity.
To register for a discounted ticket visit the website and enter ‘ge2009′ as the discount code.

Time: 9am-5pm
Venue: Churchill College, Cambridge, UK

A Global New Deal needs a Green New Protectionism
Wednesday 16 Sep 2009 ?

An evening to learn and discuss the ‘triple crunch’ that we face: climate change, energy insecurity, and financial and economic meltdown. Colin Hines, Author and convener of the Green New Deal Group will be leading the talks. Colin has worked in the environmental movement for over 30 years including 10 years at Greenpeace. His recent work focuses on the adverse environmental and social effects of international trade and the need to solve these problems by replacing globalisation with localisation. During the evening there will also be a tribute to ‘Teddy’ Goldsmith, founder of The Ecologist magazine.

Time: 6.30pm drinks and food, 7.30pm talk begins at Burgh House
Venue: Gaia House, 18 Well Walk, Hampstead
Contacts: To book email, book online or call 0207 428 0054.

Protest against the closure of Vestas Wind Turbine Factory
Thursday 17 Sep 2009 ?

As well as the continuing protest against the closure of the Vestas Wind Turbine factory at the Isle of Wight, there will also be a chance for people to make their feelings known across the country. People are meeting at the Department of Energy and Climate Change in London to lobby against the government. There will also be speakers including John Mcdonnel, MP (Labour, Hayes and Harlington) and Tracy Edwards (Young Members Organiser for the Public and Commercial Services Union).
Couldn’t put it better than Phil Thornhill from the Campaign against Climate Change “Just when we need a huge expansion in renewable energy they are closing down the only significant wind turbine factory in the UK. The government has spent billions bailing out the banks, and £2.3 billion in loan guarantees to support the UK car industry – they can and should step in to save the infrastructure we are really going to need prevent a climate catastrophe.
Whilst the impact on employment on the Isle of Wight will be quite devastating, this is an issue not just about jobs or one factory but about whether the government is really going to match up its actions to its rhetoric on green jobs and the rapid decarbonisation of the British economy – whether its prepared to act with the kind of resolution and energy we need to cope with the Climate Emergency”.

Time: 5.30 to 6.30pm
Venue: Outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 3 Whitehall Place.


Out of the Ordinary Festival
Friday 18 Sep 2009 to Sunday 20 Sep 2009
OOTO is a 3 day family friendly and eco friendly festival set in the beautiful Sussex countryside celebrating the Autumn Equinox. Featuring a variety of live music powered by solar panels and wind generators, fascinating talks and workshops, children’s activities, awesome performances, a green market place and many more out of the ordinary surprises. The festival is also offering Big Green Gathering ticket holders a discount for the event held over the weekend
Venue: Knockhatch Farm, Hailsham, East Sussex

Saturday 19th September

Get fit and get your very own tree sapling to take home! Participants run a 5km race to raise money for Trees for Cities, an independent environmental charity working with local communities on tree planting projects. There is also music, entertainment, lots of tree-themed activities, whatever that may consist of, and plenty of other workshops to keep the whole family entertained.
The race is open to runners aged 14 and up and is ideal for beginners or experienced runners alike. Register now, to make sure you can raise as much sponsorship as possible before the day, and look forward to a grand day out.

Time: 9am-3pm
Venue: Battersea Park


The Urban Green Fair ?
Sunday 20th September

?The Urban Green Fair is held in Brockwell Park in London this Sunday, Its a free event and with plenty to do and see, the fair is also powered by solar and wind energy.
The annual family event, has a range of films, talks, workshops, kids activities, stalls, sunshine as well as some unusual bicycles. Unfortunatly no bars or big stages but this keeps the emphasis on education and communication. A chance to share ideas, meet familiar faces and make new friends. With little government action on peak oil and climate change there is plenty to discuss and lots we can do as individuals. ?

?Venue: Brockwell Park, Lambeth

Leytonstone Car Free Day
Sunday 20th September

Leytonstone Town Centre will car free day this Sunday. As well as having no vehicles hurtling around there will also be entertainment, stalls, live music, dancing, public art and childrens’ play areas. Simon Webbe from Blue and Aswad will be headlining! Get yourself down, and make sure you leave the car(if you’ve got one) at home.
Time: 1pm-7pm
Venue: Outside Leyonstone tube station

Saturday 12th of September until Monday 21st September

A coming together of activists, eco-warriors gardeners, artists, community/political groups, cooks, builders etc. to demonstrate our creative power to build a city/world we would like to see. Co-Mutineers have taken an old cathedral (of the holy apostles) near the Triangle in the Clifton/Hotwells area, it’s a space to converge, eat, sleep meet and discuss, plan and skill-share!
There will be over a week of different activities, direct actions, workshops, film screenings, public demonstrations and parties. It’s happening all across Bristol and the wider South West.


During the week there will be actions happening all across the city, which will climax in a fancy dress carnival through the financial district of Bristol on the Friday.
Venue: Bristol Pro Cathedral, Park Place, BS8 1JW
Monday 14th September
William Elliott Whitmore
The Garage, order London


We can’t get enough of this distilled, medications gravelly bluesman. With Whitmore, it’s almost like you’re listening from inside a huge bottle of JD.

Tuesday 15th September
We Have Band
ICA, London


This trio spin the grooves of Talking Heads via a stop off and natter with Hot Chip, it’ll make you jive and smile.

Wednesday 16th September
Beth Jeans Houghton
Rough Trade East, London


Having supported folk heavy weights, Tunng, Bon Iver, and King Creosote, this ballsy 19 year old manages to blend the vocal lustre of Nico and Laura Marling whilst having an edgy stage presence more like Gwen Stefani. Beguiling.

Thursday 17th September
Alela and Laura Gibson
Shepherds Bush Empire, London


We chatted to Alela recently and she was as lovely as her music. Gibson toes a similar line of enchanting bluesy folk airs.

Friday 18th September
Metronomy, Male Bonding, Your Twenties and Drums Of Death
The Forum, London


We’re particularly keen on the immaculate indie-pop of Your Twenties after meeting the lovely ex-Metronomy frontman. Nice to see they’re still close.

Saturday 19th September
Tom Paley and Birdengine
The Deptford Arms, London


A traditional folk night in a scuzzy South-East London boozer. You want more reason that that? Well living legend, Tom Paley who played with Woodie Guthrie back in the day and enchantingly odd, Birdengine are two big ones.

Sunday 20th September
Viv Albertine and Get Back Guinozzi!
The Windmill, London


The Slits guitarist has picked up a guitar again after a 25 year sabbatical and come up trumps with punk rock outfit, Albertine.

Monday 14th

Rankin at The Truman Brewery

It’s the last chance to see Rankin’s retrospective in Brick Lane this week. The exhibition moves through Rankin at university exploring the well worn art student quest to find a sense of self to portraying the plight of the Congo. After this introduction the exhibition opens onto his best know fashion, website erotic and beauty editorials. Featuring Kate, Hedi, Tilda Swinton and the Dame of British Fashion, Vivienne Westwood to name a few. Rankin’s strongest work comes through in the portraits where he has assumed a sense of a relationship with the sitter, tweaking out their quirks through the movement of an eyebrow, eye or twitch of the lips or neck. Throughout the exhibition Rankin moved his studio into the space to continue photographing the public portraits. A portion of everyone’s fee goes to support Oxfam’s to work in the Congo.
Until the 18th September.



START KNITTING with prick your finger!

Recent years have seen a rise in designers revisiting craft techniques, with knitting proving to be especially popular with a range of creatives from Louise Goldin to Mark Fast. Last week Amelia’s Magazine participated in a Prick Your Finger discussion on the use and sourcing of local ethical wool and the continuing rise in the popularity of knitting.Join on a Tuesday 7-9 for beginners classes with all your knitting woes and joys.



Fashion Diversity at The Museum of London

The Museum of London is staging a three day fashion diversity event during London Fashion Week. On Thursday the museum hosts a range of workshops from a discussion of the development of sustainable fashion by CHOOLIPS, to a Moving Passion to Profit workshop in association with the MOORDESIGN salon finishing with the importance of branding. Colour Production, addressing how companies interact with their audience visually. Finally 7-16 year olds are giving the opportunity to unlock their creativity in a fashion drawing workshop teaching concentration, communication and dexterity.

Friday and Saturday host the fashion diversity catwalks: Emerging, Established and Honorary designers at 1pm or 3pm Friday and 1pm on Saturday, places are free. Honorary designers Junky Styling and Nico Didonna also present pieces for the runway.

To conclude Saturday’s event, at 3pm student and graduate designers from schools and colleges across London showcase designs inspired by 18th century pleasure gardens and related costumes from from the Museum of London’s archives.


SHOWstudio : Fashion Revolution

Unable to go to Fashion Week? Fear not! As mentioned last week, the Fashion Revolution exhibition opens at Somerset House. The exhibition curated by Showstudio celebrates nine years of The website established by Nick Knight has pushed and developed the idea of communicating fashion ‘live’ through films, online live interviews and streamed performances involving photographers, models, stylists graphic designers and cultural figures to create ethereal fashion portraiture and communication through body and style. New fashion films have been commissioned to accompany the exhibition, alongside a live photographic studio that gives the viewer the opportunity to see the whimsical world of fashion in play.


Saturday 19th


This just dropped into the inbox – The East End thrift store are inviting all budding clothing DIY’ers to come down to the store and fill a bag with all that you can for ten or twenty pounds. Open Saturday to Sunday from 10-7pm.


The National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery celebrates the icon of 60′s British Fashion photography, Twiggy. Dedicating a room to the most iconic images created with her image by a range of photographers from Richard Avedon to Solve Sundsbo. The exhibition coincides with a publication of a new book: Twiggy : A life in photography. This exhibition is a must for anyone interested in the relationship between sitter and photography in fashion portraiture.


Roll up Roll up and take part in Covent Garden’s fashion fete

Pull the fashion rope, roll around in dressing up boxes courtesy of Costume Boutique. Jump up and Down for the tombola, be styled by Super Super Magazine, scouted by models 1 or preview some of the hottest new design talent with the Fashion and Textiles museum.
Moreover TRAID are holding a stitching workshop on how to transform old clothes into new designs as demonstrated by their remade range.


Categories ,Covent Garden, ,Ethical Fashion, ,Junky Styling, ,Knitting, ,London Fashion Week, ,Mark Fast, ,museum of london, ,New Designers, ,Nick Knight, ,Somerset House, ,TRAID, ,Twiggy

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Amelia’s Magazine | BIBA is BACK!

Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

BIBA, viagra 60mg illustrated by Abi Daker

It was the now legendary Barbara Hulanicki that brought Biba into the lives of so many young people.  Barbara, capsule with her husband Stephen, advice had previously run a small mail order company before opening Biba, a small boutique on Abingdon Road, South Kensington, in 1964.  It was an instant success and customers flocked to the boutique to buy clothing that was inspired by Art Nouveau and Deco designs, as well as Hollywood glamour of the 1920s and 1930s.  The interior of the shop was designed to suit the original and covetable clothes perfectly; it was ornately decorated with beautiful furniture and antiques. Hanging out at the Biba shop was the thing to do, it was the hippest place to be seen and young celebrities of the time such as Twiggy, Julie Christie and Brigitte Bardot were loyal customers.  

‘Big Biba’ illustrated by Alia Gargum

Following its quick success, Biba moved to a further two stores but it was in 1973 that it relocated to the Art Deco department store Derry’s and Toms on Kensington High Street.  Barbara and Stephen spent £1m on refurbishing the store that became known as ‘Big Biba’.  It sold everything that the contemporary household needed and desired, from furniture, food, cosmetics and other household goods, alongside Barbara’s clothing and accessory designs.  Behind the scenes, Biba had become a profitable venture and Dorothy Perkins became a large stakeholder when the company was privatised.  For Barbara and Stephen, their personal relationship with the brand had soured and they were frustrated with the lack of control that they had over the everyday running of the business. In 1975 the nationwide recession forced Big Biba to close, and the couple relocated abroad.   

In 2005, Biba was given new life under the reins of designer Bella Freud.  As creative director, Freud and the company who had bought the rights to Biba tried to capitalise on the legacy that Barbara and Stephen had left behind them.  Freud’s vision was not well received and the collection was criticised for being over priced, and lacking the spirit that Barbara had instilled in the brand.

Daisy Lowe wears Biba, illustrated by Natasha Thompson

It is now at the hands of House of Fraser that Biba has its third revival.  House of Fraser will offer three ranges; Biba, Biba Blue and Biba Boutique.  Biba Blue will carry popular denim styles, whereas Biba Boutique will offer limited edition dresses.  For this season, bang on trend, there are 11 statement maxi dresses. There will be approximately 160 pieces for the launch, and also available will be jewellery, handbags and scarves.  There is a strong contemporary feel to the collection, but sensitivity to the Biba history is clear.  The design team at House of Fraser have been busy delving into the archives and sourcing inspiration from original pieces.  For this season the collection contains maxi dresses, heavily embellished tops and dresses, metallic colours and sheer panelling.  Materials such as velvet, faux fur, marabou feathers and sequins give a nod to the original decadence and Art Deco inspiration of the brand.  With an average selling price of £100, House of Fraser aims to avoid the ‘disposable clothing’ concept that Hulanicki championed.  This does not mean, however, that the collection should be cast with the same contempt that Freud’s fell victim to.  The collection contains some fantastic offerings.  Daisy Lowe has been selected as the face of new Biba, and in one marketing shot she coquettishly wraps herself up in the must have piece of the season – the floor length leopard print faux fur coat.  Other must have items include a wine coloured velvet maxi dress and a range of marabou feather jackets. 

The new collection, illustrated by Jenny Robins

The resurrection of vintage brand Halston shows that with the right creative direction an enterprise like this can be successful.  House of Fraser CEO John King spoke recently of the requests he received from American retail giants Macy’s, Saks and Bloomingdale’s about when they were able to place orders for the Biba collection to sell in their department stores.  The interest in Biba is mammoth; it always has been.  Hulanicki’s capsule collection for Topshop was a huge triumph, but even she has closed the doors on Biba for the foreseeable future.  Available to buy in store now, perhaps it will be a case of third time lucky.

Categories ,Abi Daker, ,Alia Gargum, ,Art Deco, ,Art Nouveau, ,Barbara Hulanicki, ,Bella Freud, ,biba, ,Bloomingdales, ,boutique, ,Brigitte Bardot, ,daisy lowe, ,Glamour, ,Hollywood, ,House of Fraser, ,Jenny Robins, ,John King, ,Julie Christie, ,Macy’s, ,Natasha Thompson, ,Saks, ,South Kensington, ,twiggy

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Amelia’s Magazine | Black is the new Black- Hannah Marshall Interview

When you think of the humble pom-pom you think of children’s clothes, order buy of gigantic sombreros for tourists, generic unsightly snow boots and poodles with dodgy haircuts. Experimenting with pom-poms always seemed to be a bit like tequila shots – one was fun, two was adventurous, any more was way overboard and enough to make you gag.
NOT ANY MORE! Somebody somewhere decided it was time to wrench those pom-poms from the cheerleader’s sweaty grasp and boom! Stick them in the right places and we’re in love – and it turns out you can have hundreds of them!



They might have come to our attention bobbling out all over the catwalks in fashion week and with the high street following suit, but this is a look that could be even cheaper for the creative recessionistas amongst you. Make your own! Check it.
If you ever find yourself sat staring into space on the tube, you could be churning out a whole lot of pom-poms instead. Worn the right way I think it’s a really easy and fun accessory to jazz up an outfit– this cute Peter Jensen ring as a prime example:


We’ve seen some girls wearing them in their hair, which make a nice woolly alternative to bows, and of course the contentious scrunchie.








Don’t be wearing those in the cinema mind you.

It’s amazing that something so simple has been culturally reinterpreted so often over the course of history. That might sound grand but something that’s gone from dangling off the edges of sun hats in Central America, to being mass marketed to children all over the world to making on the Paris catwalks is pretty unique. Yikes, Pom Pom international even reckons they can promote world peace. Maybe that’s one tequila too many. Sporting them could almost seem a throwback to childhood, a fashion revival harking back to the days of hats and mittens (I’d like to say ‘and snow and toboggans’ but let’s face it, it doesn’t snow THAT often).
The last thing we can learn about pom-poms is from cheerleaders everywhere, who if nothing else, seem mind-bogglingly happy. Why? POM-POMS!
“At a T-cross-section go to the left. On your left hand you will see a hill. At the end of the hill, tadalafil on the top, this you will see a green cottage. That is where you can find me. If I am not there I might be outside doing some experiments.”
Holland’s answer to a modern day Darwin, Theo Jansen has spent the last 19 years playing god and taking evolution into his own hands. An arrogant way to spend the best part of two decades you might say, but not when you see what incredible results this passing of time has produced. Jansen’s kinetic creature creations exist in a carefully crafted overlap of art and engineering.
From a physics background to a study of painting via an interest in aeronautics and robotics Jansen arrived at 1990 with a thirst for breathing autonomous life into mechanical sculpture. What started as a highly technical computer animation program is now only reliant on the power of the wind with no machine assistance and only minimal human input required, and even that Jansen hopes to eventually phase out.
My personal attraction to what Jansen does comes from my deep seated loathing of plastic waste, which he cleverly conquers by incorporating discarded plastic bottles as part of a complicated wind energy storage system and he sources metres and metres and metres of yellow plastic tubing- 375 tubes per animal to be exact- to create the skeletons for his beautiful monsters.
He claims he started to use the plastic tubing because it was unbelievably cheap and readily available although he quickly discovered that a more perfect material for the project would be hard to find as they are both flexible and multifunctional. He draws comparisons between the plastic required in his art and the protein required for life forms. “in nature, everything is almost made of protein and you have various uses of protein; you can make nails, hair, skin and bones. There’s a lot of variety in what you can do with just one material and this is what I try to do as well.”
The heads of his giant beings act as sails, directing the intricate frames to glide gracefully across the nearby beaches to Jansen’s home and laboratory. The insect-like wings catch gusts of wind and propel the body forward. When there is no wind not even for ready money, the stored energy in the belly of the beasts can be utilized.
Jansen’s vision is of a landscape populated by herds of these sculptures taking on entire lives of their own. The versions of models that made it into existence have raced and won survival of the fittest contests through his computer program and having studied these ‘winners’ Jansen designed creatures so developed they are even capable of self preservation, burrowing themselves in the sand when the gusts are too powerful for them to use constructively.
His imagination like his Strandbeests (literally translated as ‘Beach Animal) is an ever evolving self perfecting organ. He envisions a point at which he will release his creations ‘into the wild’, which he speaks about in the same loving tone you would expect from a parent preparing their nest to be flown by their offspring. “I imagine that two animals will meet each other and compare their qualities in some way; have a demonstration somewhere on how they run and how fast they can run and also do some quality comparison on how they survive the winds. And the one with the better quality kills the other one and gives the other its own genetic code. There could be 30 animals on the beach, running around all the time, copying genetic codes. And then it would go on without me.” It’s not so far fetched after all to consider what Jansen does as god-like. He plainly and rather humbly philosophizes, “I try to remake nature with the idea that while doing this you will uncover the secrets of life and that you will meet the same problems as the real creator,” he added. Theo Jansen is simply a genius though his genius is far from simple. Amen.

It has been a while since I have found a political party that I feel that I can get behind. Politics seem to have descended into a misguided mess. Anytime I read about a Tory or Labour MP, more about it is usually because of a scandal. What is going on environmentally and economically seems to play second fiddle to infighting and lies. Meanwhile, living in East London, I have become friends with a couple of people who are involved in the Hackney Green Party. They don’t seem to lie, or cheat, or claim expenses – this is a party that I can support! I wanted to find out more about them, so I sat down for a cup of tea with Matt Hanley, who is the Green candidate for Stoke Newington Central.

Illustration by Jessica Pemberton

I really liked the political broadcast; I thought it was very astute. The message is not that we have to step outside of our comfortable lives, but that the Green Party are the only political group who can deal with the contemporary and current issues that the world is facing; both politically and environmentally.

We have changed in almost a 180-degree way, twenty years ago the stereotype was beards, sandals, pipes, hemp clothes, it was almost like lecturing the public – it was unsophisticated. Twenty years ago was what, 1989? Scientists for the first time had come to an agreement that climate change was happening, and that it appeared to be man made. I guess when that news was first out there; people were like ‘look, its GOT to change’. Now we are a bit savvier. We have to present policies which are palatable to the voting public; there is no point in standing on the side lines and finger wagging, if we present a policy which will save money but drive down carbon emissions – that is what we are all about. I see the environment agenda of the Green Party very much subset of our core goal, which is social justice. Everything we do, we put the welfare of the human being at the very core. If they are not benefiting from our policies then… I don’t want to know…. that is what the Green Party stands for. So we work for human rights, LGBT rights, promoting the local economy, promoting local business, right though to reducing carbon emissions, they are all under this umbrella of social justice. We are providing a very electable platform, which will improve people’s lives. We are a very well run political party with extremely good innovative ideas to get ourselves out of this economic mess and we are also challenging climate change and enabling our communities to do the same and preparing ourselves for peak oil.

There have been a many protests organised recently, a lot of people who have never protested before are taking to the streets. What is the Green Party’s stance on direct action?

We are the political wing of the New Social Movement; we are the only party who advocate non-violent direct action. The Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, is probably the only leader with a criminal record, she has been arrested at a nuclear base up in Scotland. We support legitimate protest. There is a place for the protesting, and a place for the parliamentary process. So we are the elected wing of the protest movement.

Illustration by Aarron Taylor

Other parties don’t like their protesters do they?

Absolutely not, they just want you to nod along. Like good citizens, nod along like The Churchill Dog! (Laughs)

For people who have only heard of Hackney and have not been here, the first words that would come to mind would not be “sustainability”, “communities” or “grow your own”, but plenty of people are living by these ideals here and there is actually quite a healthy sized green movement in Hackney….

There is a massive opportunity for a green movement here, and massive support for us. It is unbelievable. In the last elections, the Greens reached second or third in every single ward in Hackney.

And you have a good relationship with Transition Town Hackney as well?

Yes, but they are completely different organisations. The Transition Town movement doesn’t want to be in the thrall of the political party. We definitely support the parties and their principles. We are all about a localised economy, we should be able to feed ourselves, produce our own energy, and I should be able to send my kid to the local school. The Transition Town model is about preparing for the onslaught of climate change and equipping communities for that transition, and that is also what the Greens are all about.

Can you see Hackney functioning well under a Green Party council?

Absolutely! They are doing it in Lewisham at the moment, which is a similar demography. They are doing all these fantastic things, for example, they have set a system up where you can go to the library and hire energy reading meters which you can take home and fix into your energy meter and this allows you to do an audit of your energy usage. I definitely want to see this launched in Hackney. It’s an innovative, creative way of thinking. It’s about putting sustainability at the core of everything, which also saves lots and lots of money!

I see The Green Party as being very accessible to young people as well.

The average age of people joining is mid to late 20′s. They are not wedded to 20th century politics, a lot of older labour supporters can’t bring themselves to leave. We have the same agenda that Labour did, back when they were good Labour. Only we can add the environmental agenda. We stand up for peace. We stand up for nuclear disarmament, no other party does that. We want public services to stay public. We want to renationalise the railways – the cost of rail tickets hits young people very, very hard. Younger people can see that we are standing up to big businesses, supporting local shops, and standing up for individuals. We have a whole plethora of progressive policies……..

Illustration by Aarron Taylor

And also The Green Party a very media savvy bunch – you are on Facebook, you organise lots of activities….

Absolutely! In fact next week we are going paintballing – ‘Paintballing for Peace’

(Laughs) What other way is there to find peace?

(Laughs), and we are going on a Hackney Greens bike ride down to Brighton, we are organising a summer solstice away down to the coast. And we go on alternative pub-crawls. (Laughs)

Speaking of young people, Matt, you are 30 years old and you are standing for Stoke Newington Council for next May. What prompted this move?

I don’t like politicians – they are all the same, especially with what is going on with news about their expenses at the moment.
Working for the Green Party, and seeing the good that they are doing, I thought, you have to step up. I know that I can do a good job. Labour are failing miserably both in Hackney and in the country. The Conservatives are the same, the Liberal Democrats are no different, and so as a Green, you just have to step up.

What will you do if you won and had the power to implement any idea? What’s the first thing that you would do?

Free insulation! It’s a scheme that stems from European legislation, which states that energy companies are obliged to give a certain percentage to energy efficiency schemes. But the councils have to apply for that. The Green Party in Kirklees is on the local council, so every single person in Kirklees gets free insulation. It drives down energy costs, and drives down the carbon emissions and creates local jobs, so it’s a win win situation. Why every single council on the country is getting on this I don’t know. It saves everyone money, make peoples homes warmer, make them healthier – it stops people going to NHS with colds and flu and also reinvigorates the local economy by producing jobs. It creates a programme of very sustainable jobs. We tried to implement it before, but the Labour Councellors called it ‘daft’, dismissed it out of hand and didn’t give a reason beyond that!

That doesn’t make any sense!

The Labour and Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats are on the wrong side of history, but there is a new movement, and it takes into account the Green Party, Transition Town and Friends Of The Earth…. Amnesty International, trade unions, CND etc and all these community grass routes organisations. This is a wonderful new social movement that can be called green with a small g and is a new paradigm of social and political engagement…. this is what the 21st Century is coming to now, but the three big parties are still clinging onto the coat tails of 20th Century ideology. This whole new multifaceted social movement (of which the Green Party are the political wing) is the new politics of the 21st century.

Illustration by Faye Katirai

Can you tell us the best changes that we can make to our lives to make our world more sustainable?

Number one is vote Green! Although I don’t want to lecture people about being ” eco trendy”. Eco trendiness and eco consumption is not going to sort this mess out. We need strong government action to allow this country to change to a sustainable economy. But back to things that you can do as an individual: don’t use your car as much. Don’t eat as much meat. Cut down, you don’t have to stop eating meat completely, just don’t buy from supermarkets. Stop shopping at supermarkets altogether, because that is killing the environment, and your local towns. Support your local shops instead.

Wise words! Thanks Matt.
While the rest of us spent the winter windblown and wet-toed, viagra knitwear designer Craig Lawrence was dreaming of a resort escape, prostate with all the bells and whistles. And what hard earned sunburn doesn’t deserve to be soothed by an embarrassingly oversized tropical drink with all the tacky accoutrements. And ‘splash’ inspiration is born! Those fanciful toxic colored fishbowls of liquor with their cascading garnishes were all the visual inspiration Craig needed to create his first collection since graduating from St.Martins last July. Knitted up with satin ribbons and swirling metal yarn, the knitwear newcomer’s sugar sweet confections made it to Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s runways and onto the lips of the fashion heavies.


I understand sweets and cocktails were the inspirations for your recent collection. What are some of your favorites?
After my degree collection for St.Martins I needed a bit of time to catch my breath so when I started designing again it was winter…cold and grey. I was eating sweets in my studio and daydreaming of beaches and tropical drinks. Some of my favorite things are peach daiquiris, parma violets. My favorite sweet is probably chewy toffee and favorite drink is that fizzy orange drink irn-bru.
What do you recall as the first piece of knitwear you ever made?
A wooly, salmon colored scarf that I actually lost on the train. That and an awful grey ruched square-shaped polyester thing I had to make for my A levels.
If given the chance to collaborate with anyone who would you have in mind?
I’ve always thought of doing pieces for a more theatrical environment. I would love to work with Slava Snowshow.


You recently worked with stylist Katie Shillingford on a shoot for your recent collection. There’s so much movement in those images which really brings your knits to life, how did you manage to capture that?
I’d wanted dancing and movement but the studios’ ceilings were too low and they were all too expensive. So we brought a 9 ft family size trampoline to a rooftop overlooking the city and had the girls bouncing up and down on it. A bit risky actually as there was really not much there to stop them from going over if we weren’t careful. We did the hair and make up at home with the help of my boyfriend and flatmates, one of which is a model, which definitely helps when you need someone for fittings.
Did you start out interested in knit or did you find your way to it while studying fashion?
Actually, I wanted to do menswear while I was at London College of Fashion, by the time I got to St.Martins they encouraged me to do knit because they saw that all my stuff to that point had been designed in jersey. And I loved the chunky quality of knit.


I hear you managed to do the impossible and actually design 6 seasons of knitwear for Gareth Pugh, while doing your BA, AND working a retail job once a week. How were you able to do that and how many of yourself did you have to clone?
I was in school at the time and had knitted a scarf for a friend who’s flatmate wore it on a date with Gareth, who mentioned he was looking for a knitwear designer. He got in touch and said he needed to have pieces made up in a week. So it was all quite fast. All that while doing my BA degree and working in the stock room at John Lewis on Saturday mornings, sometimes having to be there at 6 am. You get used to not sleeping.
And a year after graduating you were showing at Vauxhall Fashion Scout?
My PR agency BLOW called me up a week before the show and said they had an opening for me, so I made up some accessories and a few pieces to fill out the collection I’d been working on. I was given a team of hair and make up artists and we were off.


Which comes first for you, the yarn or the garment?
Usually the textiles come first for me. I’ve learned alot about them along the way, like for example needing to use a flat knit for tight fitting garments.
Are there any textiles, practical or not that you’re really keen to use?
I’d like to do something with little leather strips or pvc something shiny and bright. Maybe even strips of diamante.
What is one of the more random things you’ve used to knit with?
You know those yellow rubber gloves used for washing up/ i found a guy in Dalston Market selling a gaint roll of it and bought it. I cut it up into tiny little strips and started knitting it up but as a garment it was incredibly heavy and totally unweareble.
Could you give us a peek into the inspirations for your next collection?
At the moment I’m interested in accessories, chenille, and fireworks!
Look out! That is some recipe. Craig Lawrence wants to expand our minds and preconceptions, to push knitwear into places we’d least expect it. Can’t wait to see what Molotov cocktail awaits us next season!

Prepare yourself for copious amounts of black eye liner as this week sees us take an awe-inspiring look at one of London’s fashion firmament Hannah Marshall. A rapidly establishing icon Marshall has been injecting a healthy dose of rock and roll back onto our catwalks since her break through debut in 2007.

I tracked down Hannah to find out more about this talented lady


How are you doing? It’s a lovely sunny day in London; hope your enjoying the sunshine?

I have escaped from London to work from home today in the beautiful Essex countryside; the weather is beautiful here too.

Take me through life since you’re A/W 09 collection showcased at London Fashion Week?

The Autumn/Winter 2009 collection ‘Armour’ was shown at London Fashion Week as part of the New Generation exhibition sponsored by Top Shop. In addition, store I did my first presentation at the On|Off space with Ipso Facto in the Science Museum. The collection was also shown in Paris and New York and there has been a very positive reaction with UK and International press and buyers alike. Since fashion week, ed I have started working on more music collaborations, approved which is really exciting.


Your one of the few designers I have come across that you really get the sense that your personal style plays prominence in your designs, would you agree?

I think it’s important to practice what you preach, and at the end of the day I am designing what I want to wear, that I believe isn’t out there already. I am obsessed with black, shoulder pads and eyebrows. My brand is an extension of me and my aesthetic and vision, which is about empowering women through clothing.

Every girl needs her staple black dress, for me anyway there is a sort of salvation and self-assurance in black clothing, would you agree?

When I design, I design in black. It’s the strongest and most powerful colour there is. Black is the perfect tone to create bold and interesting silhouettes with. For me, the iconic Little Black dress is the epitome of timeless clothing and is the wardrobe staple that is exudes a powerful elegance, authority and quiet confidence. When I launched my label in 2007, I just showed 12 black dresses – for me, a black dress is all you need.


What would you say stimulates you to create your collections?

This season the Hannah Marshall woman wears her own suit of armour. Her body is encased in steel line panels, protected with angular breastplates, concealed with pronounced contours and shielded with moulded hips. This body armour concept allows pieces to offer the illusion of strength and lend the wearer a sense of security.

My design philosophy stems from my continuing obsession with the human form and bodily contours, resulting in carefully orchestrated designs that fit to perfection, inspired insect exoskeletons references such as the beetle’s armoured shell, mimicked through protective interconnecting segments. Black takes the main stage once again, in contrasting and tactile fabrics to create a second skin concealing what lies beneath. The introduction of caviar- look stingray, luxurious stretch velvet and taught elastic is added to my ritual butter soft leathers and lustrous stretch silks

I know it’s a generic question, but which designers out their would you
pinpoint as inspirations?

I am obsessed by Thierry Mugler and the super tailored, sexy designs from the 80′s period. I love the minimalism of Jill Sander in the 90′s and appreciate the sculptural shapes from Japanese designers like Yohji Yamamoto.

You utilise black very heavily within your work, would you say “black is
the new black?’

Always – black is irreplaceable and will always be around throughout each season.

I know you’re enthused by music, you recently used Ipso Facto as muses for you’re A/W 09 collection, which other bands blast out of your headphones?

Ipso Facto of course, as well as The Kills, Iggy Pop, Skunk Anansie, The Black Keys, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Florence & The Machine, Prince, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Nirvana, Siouxie & The Banshees, and more…

If you could work with any iconic figure from the past, who would you choose any why?

Cristobal Balenciaga – pure genius.


Do you have any advice for budding designers eager to break into the fashion sphere?

Believe in yourself, otherwise how can you expect others too. Also, I would advise any young designers to get a mentor and do their ground work.


The more that I delve into the world of Hannah Marshall the further in awe I become. Marshall creates collections that are not merely appreciated as catwalk objects, she creates pieces that tap into every woman’s subconscious. Her Designs follow a distinctive aesthetic, beautifully crafted with architectural precision but with a sensibility that just screams wearability.


I think on a subconscious level we are all black aficionados, when your endlessly trawling the deepest realms of the wardrobe on those bleary eyed mornings, what brings us the utmost in self-assurance and feistiness? Without a doubt it is the quintessential little black dress that consoles all dilemmas. Its been engrained into our sub conscious, think avante garde, think Audrey Hepburn. The back dress prevails time, it still retains the same stylish potency now as ever. Regardless of occasion Its my one true ally admist the abysses of print and colour that can often just make the head spin. Blacks connotates effortless dominance, sexiness and style.


So watch out world we have a new queen of darkness on our hands!

(images supplied by Victor De Mello)

Categories ,Black, ,Fashion, ,Hannah Marshall, ,Interview, ,London Fashion Week, ,Rock and Roll

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