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

Emma Box, find illustrated by Lesley Barnes

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

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

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

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

Lydia Vousvouni, illustrated by Abi Daker

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

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

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

Alex Oliver, illustrated by Lesley Barnes

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

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

Vicky Jolly, illustrated by Alli Coate

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

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

Anachee Sae Lee, illustrated by Abi Daker

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

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

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

Rochester, you’re all winners anyway.

Danielle Reed, malady illustrated by Gabriel Ayala

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

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

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

Kirsty Stringfellow, illustrated by Zarina Liew

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

Danielle Reed, illustrated by Gabriel Ayala

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

Rachel Wolstenholme, illustrated by Aniela Murphy

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

Sunny Kalar, illustrated by Donna McKenzie

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

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

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

Jessica Thompson, illustrated by Gemma Milly

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

Sara Wadsworth, illustrated by Abi Daker

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

Images courtesy of

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

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Amelia’s Magazine | Easter Biscuits from the Biscuiteers

Biscuiteers Easter egg biscuit tin
Biscuiteers Easter egg biscuit tin.

Think buttered icing is over-rated? Fed up with cupcakes? Sick of chocolate eggs? Then how about trying something a little different this Easter? Biscuiteers have a knack of producing wonderful decorated biscuits for every occasion.

Biscuiteers Easter Biscuits-crown
Easter Egg Biscuits by Holly Rogers
Easter Egg Biscuits by Holly Rogers.

And in the run up to Easter the nice folks at Biscuiteers have sent me a delightful selection of Faberge inspired Easter eggs to sample. The tin contains nine gorgeous decorated biscuits, sick thick with sugary icing, crystals and crunchy baubles – my favourite ones feature crown designs. The Easter Egg mini collection costs £30 but if you feel like splashing out there is also the Easter Family Tin for £38.50, containing bunnies, ducklings and lambs alongside the eggs – a sure fire hit for the kids.

Biscuiteers Easter Egg Biscuits mini collection

Or, for those on a smaller budget there is also an Easter Bunny Card, with two bunnies for £9. In true Easter style the biscuits are chocolate flavoured. My one quibble would be that it’s a shame the tin is decorated with very pretty Easter illustrations that have been printed onto stickers rather than integrated into the tin so that it can easily be washed and re-used: something for the future?

Biscuiteers Easter Biscuits-bunny tin

For the monarchists out there there is also the Royal Wedding Tin, which contains crowns, Union Jacks, sparkly heels fit for a princess, a cake, a wedding dress (possibly not THE ONE, whatever that might be) and the world famous engagement ring. These biscuits come on a vanilla flavoured base as a tin of 16 for £40. Perfect if you feel like celebrating… for whatever reason.

Royal Wedding Biscuits by Rosemary Cunningham
Royal Wedding Biscuits by Rosemary Cunningham.

NEWS JUST IN: use the discount code AMELIA when ordering to get 10% off the Biscuiteers Easter range up until midday on Thursday 21st April 2011.

Categories ,Biscuiteers, ,Biscuits, ,chocolate, ,Crown, ,Cupcake, ,Easter, ,Easter Bunny Card, ,Easter Egg mini collection, ,Easter Eggs, ,Easter Family Tin, ,Engagement Ring, ,Holly Rogers, ,Icing, ,Princess, ,Rosemary Cunningham, ,Royal Wedding, ,Royal Wedding Tin, ,Union Jack, ,Wedding Dress

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Amelia’s Magazine | My Big Fat Royal Wedding with East End Prints at Maiden

Maiden Big Fat Royal Wedding

You know an exhibition is a success when you come away having bought something that you absolutely didn’t need and didn’t plan to buy…. as I’ve just done at the Maiden shop in Shoreditch High Street, find run by Noah, cheapest here seen sitting on his Union Jack bedecked staircase.

Noah of Maiden and his Big Fat Royal Wedding
Noah of Maiden and his Big Fat Royal Wedding.

Maybe it’s the lover of kitsch in me, but there’s something about Royal Wedding memorabilia, both faux and real… that is just too too tempting. Thanks to Noah you no longer have to scour ebay for exciting royal themed gifts… because he’s gathered them all in one spot for your deletion, including mugs, decorated mirrors, annuals, teatowels, badges, plates…

Maiden Big Fat Royal Wedding
Maiden Big Fat Royal Wedding

Oh, and he’s also scavenged across the land to find exciting new artworks to celebrate this ridiculous event. I don’t think he’s really appealing to the blue-blooded royalists amongst us, featuring as his shop does, a selection of printed paper plates – limited edition, £5 a pop for Will with his alternative bride, Kate Moss, by Bark Design Ltd.

Maiden Big Fat Royal Wedding-BARK DESIGN LTD
Maiden Big Fat Royal Wedding-BARK DESIGN LTD
Maiden Big Fat Royal Wedding by Bark Design Ltd

Or by former Amelia’s Magazine illustrator Jess Wilson… a lady of wonderment creating delightful objects as always. Queen Kaffy. Love it.

Maiden Big Fat Royal Wedding-Jess Wilson
Maiden Big Fat Royal Wedding-Jess Wilson
Maiden Big Fat Royal Wedding. Commemorative plate by Jess Wilson

East End Prints are installed downstairs in an area where the Cakes for Japan sale was held, and which Noel tells me is open to anyone (for free) if they have a cool project they want to promote, providing he likes your idea of course.

Maiden Big Fat Royal Wedding. East End Bloc by Dr. D. £35 unframed.
One for the anarchists. East End Bloc by Dr. D. £35 unframed.

Maiden Big Fat Royal Wedding. High Tea by Arthouse. £80 for original artwork
High Tea by Arthouse. £80 for original artwork.

Maiden Big Fat Royal Wedding-Oh for fuck's sake! by Helen Lang
Oh for fuck’s sake! by Helen Lang.

I tell you, artists everywhere are having a field day over the wedding. And it’s not because they’ve suddenly become raving Royal fans, it’s because the kitsch potential is so bloomin’ huge. I’ve just been on the phone to Tatty Devine and discovered that they’re currently decking out their shop too. Look at these fab cameo brooches!

My dissertation was on kitsch. What can I say? I make no apologies and I will be popping new Royal Wedding stuff on here as I find it. Get in quick I say, before all the best stuff goes….

Full listing here.

Categories ,Arthouse, ,Bark Design, ,Bark Design LTD, ,Cakes for Japan, ,Dr. D, ,East End Prints, ,Helen Lang, ,Jess Wilson, ,Kate & Wills, ,Kate Moss, ,kitsch, ,Maiden, ,Memorabilia, ,Noah, ,Plates, ,Royal Wedding, ,Tatty Devine, ,Union Jack

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