Amelia’s Magazine | Prophetik: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Catwalk Review

Prophetik A/W 2012 by Faye West

My fashion week hadn’t got off to the best of starts this season. I skipped day one, and arrived on day two rather worse for wear. I’d been out boozing the night before and hadn’t predicted to feel quite so dreadful the next morning. I managed the Spijkers show, but on my way to see my faces, Teatum Jones, I was spinning out so badly that I just had to return home. Spending the day on the sofa sorted me out, and so I leapt out of bed on a bright, Spring-like morning on Sunday (day three) to catch Prophetik, back after a hiatus last season, to see what Jeff Gardner could offer fashion fans at 10.30am.

Prophetik A/W 2012 by Claire Kearns

Seating was easy peasy thanks to the glorious gals at Forward PR, and the show began only a few minutes late. This season, Jeff’s charity of choice is the Lawrence Anthony Foundation, committed to protecting endangered rhinos. Well, I certainly didn’t expect to see photographs of rhinos mutilated at such an early hour, but the provocative images hit home the crisis the species face. It costs £30,000 to protect one rhino for a year – a terrifying amount of money – because the only way to keep them alive is by guarding them 24 hours a day. You can read more about the cause here.

All photography by Matt Bramford

So it was on with the show. True to form, a vibrant violinist opened the proceedings, galavanting up and down the catwalk as she played. A live band then accompanied music that blasted from the sound system and the first model appeared.

This collection was called ‘Courtly Love‘, which for a brief moment made me imagine Prophetik‘s staple frocks with Courtney Love-esque make-up. Alas, this wasn’t the case. The theme was more of a reference to Princess Grace, archetypal dandies and an age-old way of dressing reinvented with a surge of modernity. The collection brought Prophetik‘s inimitable style back to the catwalk – romance, drama and sophistication neatly packaged into one collection.

Prophetik A/W 2012 by Gilly Rochester

Layers of lace were built up on dresses, blouson sleeves met with tight cuffs, swooping necklines were decorated with ruffled trims and sashes around waists provided flattering silhouettes.

This season saw a shorter hemline on some pieces that came as a bit of a surprise; I’m used to Jeff’s floor-sweeping numbers but cuter frocks cut above the knee made the collection seem more wearable and playful.

Menswear was exemplary as per: this season brought cropped tuxedos with jazzy gold buttons and baggy knits; pillow-shaped sleeves appeared on shirts. I spent more time than was necessary fancying two frock coats, the first with beautiful embroidery that looked like a V&A exhibit, the second made from luxurious velvet with heavy brocade detailing.

I don’t see myself hanging around Bethnal Green in either, but I’ve since fantasised about wearing the latter around the house, pretending I’m from another era.

Prophetik A/W 2012 by Gabriel Ayala

The finale created gasps across the room: a dress, black on bottom, white on top, featured one of Jeff’s grandmother’s original blankets (he must be running out) covered in black feathers – a real red carpet number if ever I saw one; one that will likely have Livia Firth on the phone faster than you can say green carpet. Gasps of another kind came when Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ emerged from the speakers – an unorthadox choice at a Prophetik show, but one that had guests bouncing up and down in their seats.

Finale at Prophetik A/W 2012 by Faye West

While Prophetik isn’t my favourite type of fashion – I prefer the more contemporary, print-based designers – I’m never disappointed, as I’m sure the hopeless romantics won’t be either.

Categories ,A/W 2012, ,AW12, ,catwalk, ,Claire Kearns, ,Courtly Love, ,Dandy, ,fashion, ,Faye West, ,Forward PR, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Gabriel Ayala, ,Gilly Rochester, ,Jeff Garner, ,Lawrence, ,London Fashion Week, ,Matt Bramford, ,menswear, ,Prophetik, ,review, ,Vauxhall Fashion Scout, ,Whitney Houston, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Lavender Diamond and review of new album Incorruptible Heart

Lavender Diamond by Suky Goodfellow
Lavender Diamond by Suky Goodfellow.

Their debut album Imagine Our Love was released in 2007 through Rough Trade to rave reviews, and at last there is a follow up. Hailing all the way from Los Angeles, Lavender Diamond‘s new album Incorruptible Heart is a slice of musical sunshine. With a haunting refrain of ‘I love you I love you I love you‘ recent single Oh My Beautiful World makes me well up with adoration for my darling Snarfle every time I hear it, whilst Everyone’s Hearts Breaking Now conjures up a darkly beautiful world where heartbreak seems somehow manageable. She’s a whirlwind of creativity: I caught up with vocalist Becky Stark to find out more.

Incorruptible Heart - Album Cover
How did Lavender Diamond come together? 
Well I had an idea about the lavender diamond, which was a myth about the original crystal caves deep in the earth and the beautiful sound they made! There is a belief that when one diamond was taken from the cave it silenced the sound, but the soul of the stone lived through the centuries and became the voice of a songbird named Lavender Diamond. I would be that character whenever I would sing or write as Lavender Diamond.  But then I wanted to be a band so I found Ron & Steve & Jeff – well kind of by magic: we just found each other and as soon as we played together it felt very powerful. 

Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond photo Autumn de Wilde
Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond by Autumn de Wilde.

Who has been the biggest influence in your vocal style?
I’m not sure… but I really love Ella Fitzgerald. I think she was the most amazing singer.. but there are many other great singers who have influenced me… Maria Callas, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Cyndi Lauper, Linda Rondstadt. I guess that’s a strange list!

LAVENDER DIAMOND by Clare Corfield Carr
LAVENDER DIAMOND by Clare Corfield Carr.

What have you been doing since the release of your first album Imagine Our Love? I hear you have been particularly busy Becky…
Oh, well, I have mostly been singing and writing music! I joined the Decemberists for a year and sang the role of Margaret in their rock opera, The Hazards of Love. I also made a record with my other band The Living Sisters, and we made an amazing music video with Michel Gondry: The Living Sisters have a new record coming out in January. I also went on the road with She & Him, singing harmonies with Zooey Deschanel and opening their shows. Then I’ve been singing country songs with John C. Reilly & we made a little record that Jack White produced. What else? Oh!  I made a little animation series of uplifting slogans for MTV called Worldword! and also a web series called We Can Do It!

YouTube Preview Image
And I’ve been writing an opera. It sounds like a lot, but there’s always so much to do… 

Your songs are quite epic… what kind of mood are you in when you write them?
Well – different moods. Usually I will write a song to express a feeling, because I need to understand and allow the meaning to change through the expression of the song.

Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond photo by Autumn de Wilde
Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond by Autumn de Wilde.

You speak of the intimate and the global. Are there any things that are especially pressing on your mind and present on this album?
Yes! I think it is so important that everyone realizes that their relationship to everything in the world is direct. 

It’s been a few weeks since your second album came out, who has been raving about it most?
Well – my friends really love it and that means so much to me! 

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There is some stunning cinematography in the Everyone’s Hearts Breaking Now music video: what was the idea behind this?
Oh, well, we had the idea years ago to make a video where I was dancing through the cosmos and falling and galloping through the stars, but we didn’t really know how to pull it off. By chance I ended up in a Doug Aitken video where I had to be in an aerial rig and it was just amazing so it was like I was born to do it! Dancing in the aerial rig was my fantasy come true and I knew we had to find a way to do it. Just a few days after that happened I ran into Maximilla and she had just filmed a test of an aerialist shot in slow motion through a prism, so then we knew we had to make the video like that together. 

Lavender diamond
How was it shot and executed?
Well it was really miraculous: I can’t believe we actually pulled it off. We just asked for help! Our community in LA is really beautiful and supportive. We found the amazing amazing June Zandona, who shot it – and really it was just incredible how it all came together. Our friend Laurel Stearns introduced us to George Augusto who has an artspace called Dilletante and he let us shoot there. Then he introduced us to Elizabeth Newton who is the head of the Circus School in LA. And she agreed to help us because she wanted to help support the expression of the feeling in the dance, which felt so beautiful and heart opening. It was crazy though because I had only ever been in the aerial rig once: but I knew I could do it and Elizabeth believed in me… then it turned out that Elizabeth and I had worked together before because years ago she had been in the Lavender Diamond video for The Garden Rose that Maximilla directed, and she & I had been in a performance of The Citizens Band together in New York when I was a guest together with Amanda Palmer several years ago. So, Elizabeth introduced us to Chobi Gyorgy – who is a flying trapeze artist from Hungary and he builds trapeze schools across the U.S. – and he agreed to build a rig for us and to be my catcher: it was really like a miracle! 

Lavender Dimond By Alia Penner
Lavender Diamond by Alia Penner via instagram.

Our amazing friend Miss KK made a beautiful costume in just one day and everything came together so fast, in about a week, because there was only one day where Elizabeth and Chobi could come and we really weren’t sure we were going to be able to pull it off. We had to figure out how to blow up a crystal, and it was like an action adventure movie. Then editing it was another adventure – but oh I love it so so so much, it was a dream come true. 

Any plans for any new videos and any plans to play in the UK?
Yes, we’re making new videos: I am hoping we will be able to make one for every song because I love making videos. And I hope we will be able to play in the UK but I don’t know when that will be…

Incorruptible Heart by Lavender Diamond is out now on Paracadute. Stream and buy the album here.

Categories ,Alia Penner, ,Amanda Palmer, ,Autumn de Wilde, ,Becky Stark, ,Chobi Gyorgy, ,Circus School, ,Clare Corfield Carr, ,Cyndi Lauper, ,Decemberists, ,Dilletante, ,Dolly Parton, ,Doug Aitken, ,Elizabeth Newton, ,Ella Fitzgerald, ,Everyone’s Hearts Breaking Now, ,George Augusto, ,Imagine Our Love, ,Incorruptible Heart, ,Jack White, ,John C. Reilly, ,June Zandona, ,Laurel Stearns, ,Lavender Diamond, ,Linda Rondstadt, ,Los Angeles, ,Maria Callas, ,Maximilla, ,Michel Gondry, ,Miss KK, ,MTV, ,Oh My Beautiful World, ,Paracadute, ,Rock Opera, ,Rough Trade, ,She & Him, ,Suky Goodfellow, ,The Citizens Band, ,The Garden Rose, ,The Hazards of Love, ,The Living Sisters, ,We Can Do It!, ,Whitney Houston, ,Worldword!, ,Zooey Deschanel

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