Saturday, 26 September 2009

Sat 26th Sept: Petra Storrs Storms the V&A

I'm devastated not to be in Paris for Jeffrey Hinton's film preview at Diane Pernet's ASVOFF2.  So thank God I have found a little gem in London to keep my faith in fate and quite frankly distract me from having a good old sob.
The V&A Friday late this month joined forces in celebrating the 25th anniversary of London Fashion Week by holding a showcase of British fashion in the form of a performance.  Set designer / Costume designer Petra Storrs had conceived a whole bedecked dance troupe to  be a physically moving backdrop to interface with models walking in 4 collections.  The designers on show were Hannah Marshall, Louise Gray, William Tempest and my forever favourite Dean Quinn.  As each girl circulated the immense space of the Raphael Gallery, Petra's dancers spun around creating vacuums for the girls to weave though.  As you can see, their clever attire was concertina wings that could fold flat or expand into circular pastel hue discs, enclosing the dancer, transforming into a screen to silhouette the inhabitant.  It was mesmerising and Ive included lots of shots here because I couldn't decide how to edit any out!
The whole event was opened by performance artist Ryan Styles who stepped out onto the mosaic floor in tap shoes, breaking the silence with a set of clink steps.  He wore one of Petra's trademark metal pieces which reflected gold light traces across the gilded ceiling of the hall and held an orb metallic helium balloon - another of Store's beautifully endearing signatures.  
Thanks to Heather Turnbull for inviting me backstage to get these close shots of both Ryan and Thomas de Kluyver's silver leaf makeup.  Unfortunately I was there at just the wrong time to snap some of Quinn's genius reflective beadwork so I'm going to have to organise another opportunity for that.............   

Friday, 25 September 2009

Fri 25th Sept: House Of Cards Part 2 - Lacey

One of my favourite works on show is Lacey's interpretation of the 5 of Clubs so I got in touch with her earlier to find out more.  Lacey has kindly sent over  the final shot and some close up pictures from the shoot.
Lacey worked with Hana Al Sayed to make a giant playing card that was 12ft high and used 2000 post it notes to construct the face.  Sometimes I think that I am mental with the attention to detail I go to, but its evident that this is just what you have to do to create a slick still life.  You can just about see the spool of thread here which they must have used to grid out a net to stick the post-its.........congrats!  I don't envy the headache that must have afflicted in lining it all up straight........
..........but well worth the time to contribute to the cause.  The concept for the "House of Cards" project was conjured up by Leo Burnett London to raise awareness of the housing problem in the UK.  65,000 families will lose their home this year alone.  
If you would like to bid for Lacey's print or any of the other 52 artist's work on display (inc. Damien Hirst) get in touch before the auction on Monday 28th.  Jo @ Shelter 08445152086

Fri 25th Sept: House Of Cards Part 1

I hop'skip'n'jumped my way into town on my potentially first free day for see the ears on Alber Elbaz by Tim Walker at the "House of Cards" exhibition.  In the fate of London street-meets I passed the JCDC boutique and picked up Jamie E17 who also wanted to go check out Charlie Le Mindu's hair in the Basso & Brooke artwork on display.  
It was worth the trip for these two efforts alone but there were 50 other treats in store.  An entire pack of cards has been commissioned from a list of artists and designers that is a nice spectrum of talent to rally together some funds for the charity Shelter.  The final artworks range from soft sculpture, hand screen print, paper-cut, collage, perspex, taxidermy...........that probably gives away some of the artists involved...........but I'll leave it to you to go for yourself and not give away the surprises!  
The exhibition is up for auction which will take place on Monday so make sure you visit over the weekend to place your secret ballot.  There are also actual packs of the playing cards as a limited run of 1000 in a collectors leather box, size A5 priced at £70.   So that's just £1.30 per playing card which is a work of art in itself and a more accessible way to help the fundraiser if you are out of pocket to purchase one of the originals.....................

(Namalee models for Basso & Brooke, Julie V, David Bailey (FYI Holly - that's Penelope Tree), McQueen's crown with Rachel Thomas hanging in the background, Tim Walker, Marc Quinn)

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Friday 11 Sept: Nasir Mazhar

For the last 3 seasons, one of my highlights of London Fashion Week has been Nasir Mazhar's showcase so it is a big tick on my attendance list.  Thank goodness this year it was held in the vaults of Somerset House so I could quickly dash out to catch his latest offering.  Once again I was transported to a different time and dimension by his eerie casting and composition.  But this season he has harnessed a more futuristic feeling and taken a step from the ecclesiastical essence of previous presentations and gone for a tinge of Blade runner...............
still immaculately executed, I'm in great admiration for his craftsmanship.  
High-Five to the new generation marking London out as the centre for millinery this season!

Thurs 24th Sept: Andy Macgregor doodles Danielle Scutt

Someone else to employ print was New Gen designer Danielle Scutt whose collection was covered for The Daily with live illustration by Andy Macgregor.  He had to literally sketch at the show and then sit at a desk in the office of Somerset House to add finishing touches for the immediate push to press.  What a great way to demonstrate the designs straight from the runway into a sketchbook.  That's the way it used to be before cameras were allowed and I'm glad to see the technique brought back............well done to The Daily for the idea and well done to Andy for another stellar set of scribbles!  Andy confesses to taking a camera along to take back-up shots for reference if needed.........but his battery ran out at the very start so his illustrations really are impressively just from a mental impression  ..............
Thanks so much Andy for supplying me with these exclusive tears that weren't printed in the final paper!

Friday 11 Sept: Eley Kishimoto

Just slipping in another print story whilst we are on the subject..............thanks Naomi for all your posting!!!!!!!!!!!..............I had a fantastic seat to appreciate the new "Beyond The Chintz" collection by EK............this season really has been fantastic for colour on the catwalks of London.........yay!  Now I just need a printer to print some GBP to buy some of it when it hits the shops!

Thurs 24th Sept: David David

London switched context this season with many designers opting for a presentation in favour of runway show.  David David presented their collection and films in a neat venue in Soho with winding staircases up and down to the different sections.  Here is a sexy print slip complete with cut away panels and slatted perspex handbag.  I snapped David in conversation with Susie Bubble so check out her coverage as their may well be an interview cropping up..........
I left them to it and scaled the final steps to the roof garden to the party which was the perfect quiet secluded space to catch up with fellow sleep-deprived designer friends.  Later the pace of the party was picked up by Nova Dando pitching up with her petrol generator and pack of dancers to preview her collection as a guerrilla style presentation that she took from party to party............excellent fun and excellent way to get everyone on their feet and animated ............

..........jumping around reminding me of the jumping models in a certain luxury sportswear brand (mentioning no crocodiles) advert for their A/W 09 collection which is very very very reminiscent of David's trademark triangle much infact that he has been complimented on the collaboration by more than one person.........but has infact had no involvement..............INTERESTING.............anyone else spotted this case for IP awareness?  Ideas don't come for free...........the model has even got David's specs on for God's sake!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Tuesday 22nd Guest Post - Naomi at Basso & Brooke

Basso & Brooke – The Print Princes

Digital printing has been a massively under-documented, but hugely important recent textiles development. And the people who have taken this technology and consistently pushed its possibilities to the limits are Bruno Basso and Chris Brooke.

Previous floral and geometric themes had this season given way to a more wibbly wobbly abstraction, sometime mixing the colours in such as way as to resemble oil on water. The colour palette was jewel bright, with amazing sapphires and electric blues dominating some outfits, while others included the entire rainbow spectrum.

Their S/S10 collection kept silhouettes pared down to mini dresses,

. . . narrow full length dresses . . .

. . .Slim suits. (That single breasted jacket which refuses to go away this season) . . .

and a few great half-moon trousered jumpsuits.

Phew! That was breathtaking, and very very nice indeed to end my LFW on a high.

I’m off home to peel my high heels from my weary feet now. It’s been a Fashion Week experience par excellence. Ciao Bella!

Naomi Attwood

Tuesday 22nd Guest Post - Naomi @ Jeremy Scott

“Some people think I’m bonkers!”
Really Jeremy?

If like me you want to be a real fashion journalist when you grow up, you’ll need to be good at summing up the essence, the meaning of clothes in few words. Not often though, have I seen a collection which could be so adroitly encapsulated in one single word: Yabadaba-dooo!

Yep, we saw beaucoup de crimped hair, beaucoup de cartoon animal print. Un peu de plastic bones . . .

And very little else.

Naomi Attwood

Monday, 21 September 2009

Monday 21st September: GUEST POST: Naomi brings you a SHOWstudio teaser

Just like our hero Gareth Pugh presenting a “pre-collection teaser” at NY fashion week before the real deal of his catwalk show in Paris next week, Fred and I came up with the idea of a post describing the SHOWstudio party. Because the exhibition is as big as Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and at least as fantastical, it warrants a post when LFW is over and there’s time to examine it in more detail, but for now this is just a taste of what's in there.

The party tonight was exciting enough in its own right, what with the likes of Lee McQueen and Nick Knight wandering about, and Penny Martin glam in head to toe in black, ever the hostess with the mostess was almost enough to distract us from the exhibits like . . . . .

. . this enormous 3D triptych of Naomi Campbell, illuminating the entrace and best off viewed from an elevated platform. . . .

. . . a section devoted to the 'designer download' project, where SHOWstudio viewers were encouraged to create thier own designer garment from the sewing patterns published on line by SHOWstudio from various visionary designers.

Also, a section of films, including Fred's atmospheric contribution representing the nape of the neck . . . and one of Ruth Hogben and Gareth Pugh's fashion films, which originally premiered on the groundbreaking website.

Speaking of which . . .we bumped into the maverick designer himself, and couldn't resist the chance to ask him why he thinks SHOWstudio is quite as fab as we do.

"well, it's Nick Knight, isn't it? The possibility of showcasing fashion through the medium of film is nothing new: that's always existed. But it's Nick who kept on pushing it. Both pushing it as in promoting it, but also pushing it as in artistically - making it more extreme and more ambitious each time. I just think its so important. Its never been more relevant than it is now.

Multi media is very important for designers and although I'm not saying it will replace the catwalk - fashion shows will always be there, they won't be replaced by video but it's a chance for designers to achieve that message in an even more controlled environment than a catwalk show can. It's your chance [as a designer] to get everything perfect"

What can I add to that? Go and see the exhibition. I will do.

Naomi Attwood

Monday 21st September: GUEST POST: Naomi @ Josh Goot in the car park

JOSH GOOT: Well worth a second look

G'day everyone! I've received some positive feedback on my somewhat international approach to intros and sign offs for Fred's blog so today in honour of Josh Goot I've instantly become fluent in Ozzy. Good idea, no? This arvo it was my absolute pleasure to attend his SS 10 show in an unassuming venue - the third floor of a multi story carpark deep in the sleazy heart of Soho. As soon as the assembled throngs were in place, and with very little fanfare and no dimming of the lights, the spectacle began. Some people might deduce that a designer choosing to eschew flim-flammery, trimmings and trinkets to such an extent - the hair was almost shower-damp and slicked back ,the faces clean, the shoes high but not to circus proportions, - must be resasonably confident in the impact of their designs alone.

And in my opinion, Goot's sentiment was not at all misplaced. This collection was coherent, clear in its vision and . . . . what're you saying Fred? Colourful? Lets have a look . . . .

This look juxtaposes the three ideas that Mr Goot presented in various forms today.
1) test-card primary colours
2) monochrome in the form of inventive prints
3) Those crayon brights again, but in patterned form

His silhouettes stuck close to the body, in the form of fitted minidresses, cigarette pants and tailored blazers.

This dress was one of the first looks out. Who wouldn't want to wear this? There are the candy hues, but each one seems justified. Other designers just don't seem to know when to stop, piling on print after print until a nosebleed situation occurs but Josh Goot seems to know what he wants, and when enough is enough. Expect Topshp and Zara to follow suit (is that a pun? it wasn't intended)

Quite a number of monochrome pieces were on show today, plus the looks that put the black and white together on the same garment as colours. The geometric nature of the panels and their precise, mathematical vibe put me in mind of Brit-Art icon Briget Riley's work.

Awww mate? This show was a winner. Even when I scour my brain looking for the best quotes from Muriel's Wedding I can't come up with anything that does this show justice. Bravo.
Naomi Attwood

Mon 21st Sept: Our Scrabble Challenge in THE DAILY

This is a long story which I don't have time to go into now..................................but pick up a copy of The Daily for today's schedule which I created with Amy Gwatkin and Rosy Nichols.  
Also there is a bloomin marvellous picture of Charlie Le Mindu's collection and a whole page dedicated to Michael van der Ham!  Hooray

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Sun 20th Sept: GUEST POST: Naomi at Pam Hogg – Tighty-tight is quite alright

Late as usual, I had to run, (yes run, me in my denim body-con dress with pagoda shoulders) to catch the first look of the Pam Hogg show. The absolutely glittering galaxy of stars in the front row belied the grungy, underground carpark in which the runway had been constructed.

The loyal Hoggettes were fired up with anticipation, resulting in an atmosphere quite unlike the usual library-like hush of the BFC tents and more like a much-anticipated gig or party about to take off. On her press release Ms Hogg forwent the usual descriptive setting of the scene that you get at most collections to simply thank everyone, saying “the goodwill that pours my way is staggering” and you could absolutely sense that in the space. A collective outpouring of ‘Come on Pam!’ radiated between the concrete pillars.

The collection itself was very slick and gave off a well-organised sheen, a kind of comprehensive, covering-of-all-bases feeling. Starting off where AW 09 left off, with catsuits and body-con dresses featuring her trademark geometric panels. This time round though, the neon colours had been replaced with stark monochrome.

The ‘it’s alright to be tight’ theme progressed throughout the collection, and the colour palette progressed to pastels, then metallics . . .

. . . then finally brights, and eventually a bit of draping was showcased, as demonstrated here by Alice Dellal.

Finally, a studded section was rounded off with a particularly Billy Idol “It’s a nice day for a white wedding . . .” take on the bridal gown that closes every couture show. Nice twist.

Afterwards I dashed into the crowd, hoping to get a quick quote from Bishi, whose marvellous quiff had been conspicuous in the front row. Somehow she had disappeared, so I had to settle for vox-popping nearby 80's ICON of wonderment, Boy George.

Did he enjoy the show?

“Yes, I think Pam’s great. My favourite part was the Elvis references. Did you notice the Elvis theme running through the collection?”

Only when I looked back at the pictures, George. Will he be channelling any of the ideas shown tonight?
“No way. These clothes are designed for Amazonian women, not the likes of me. Pam’s very good at what she does, which was a sleek, chic and rockin’ collection. I found it to be very commercial”

Yikes! All I can say is, if you’re going to do 80s, you may as well do it right.