Friday, 30 September 2011

LFW S/S 12: Francesca Marotta - backstage

Just a few photos I took backstage at Francesca Marotta's presentation in Saint Martin's Lane... (presentation photos here).  Jess and I were very pleased to pop by the hotel a few hours before the show to see the incredible tulle train being constructed, the models being renovated and to get a close-up look at the accessories.  

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

LFW S/S 12: Topman Design

I never thought I'd find myself saying this but I really, really enjoyed the Topman Design show.  Of course it wasn't without its flaws (tailored jackets with silk pyjama pants?) but few collections are.  They brought back the knitwear with a circular neck motif, and added in J.W. Anderson-style Paisley print shirts, stretch tops and trousers.  I also liked a fluoro stripy sweater rolled to the elbow.  Best of all, almost every model came out carrying my favourite impractical accessory of late - the clutch bag!  Topman's were both patent and matte and came in almost any colourway; red and orange was nice, but the patent black would be great for a more formal look.  I do suspect, unfortunately, that these little purses won't make it into Topman stores around the country.  I just can't see tweens in Liverpool or Aberdeen (or even most of London) whipping their iPhones and bus passes out of a cute little clutch.  Sigh.    

Monday, 26 September 2011


YES it's true.  That's a Christopher Kane Aqua clutch I'm holding in my hands right there.  I caved.  I spent several hours and several cocktails playing with them in Browns Focus, squeezing them, holding them up to my brow like a face mask, peering through them to turn the Margiela shirt dresses garish shades of orange and purple.  And then I left with the best and most ridiculous (those words are synonymous right?) document holder I could ever own.  Squish. 

Many thanks to Jen and her awesome photography skills for taking these photos of me during menswear day at fashion week.  For your interest I'm wearing my Acne sweater over a Club Monaco white shirt, sunglasses by Kaneko x Nonnative and a Comme des Garcons backpack.  

I am truly a fashion victim now.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

LFW S/S 12: Michael van der Ham

I was really excited to see Michael van der Ham's show this season for two reasons: a) it was held in the Topshop venue at the old Eurostar terminal in Waterloo which I've never visited before, and b) I have been a fan of his colourful patchwork creations ever since I saw the first collection on sale in Liberty.  I wasn't let down by the former - the terminal is bright and spacious, the perfect area for some great photography, and came complete with a champagne bar and selection of tasty tarts which were certainly needed by this point in the week!  

The collection itself was light and fresh, channelling the colourful mix I'd seen at the other London shows.  Michael was commercially very savvy by converting some of the fabric layerings into digital prints on silk t-shirts, rendering them less intimidating for the customer and more suitable for mass-appeal day wear.  The prints all melted into one another in a way not dissimilar to Peter Pilotto's earlier collections.  The accessories were brilliant; there were sunglasses splattered with paint splodges, while handbags and clutches were dripping in sequins or neon fur.      

Saturday, 24 September 2011

LFW S/S 12: Christian Blanken

Alex and I were super impressed by Christian Blanken's collection shown in an elegant hall-of-mirrors set-up in the Portico Rooms of Somerset House.  Blanken's brand is like an über luxe Theory - he always uses extremely high quality fabrics combined with utilitarian shapes and a minimal use of prints or colour.  This season Christian has ramped up the chic level even further, incorporating a stingray print (much more flexible and affordable than the natural alternative) which came on biker inspired jackets or more diluted silk tops and trousers.  The silky tops, skirts and dresses featured intriguing details such as a sash gathered at one shoulder or a slimline belt dropped low on the waist.  A racer-backed fur gilet would be perfect for springtime layering.  This is the kind of stuff that makes you want to lunch at The Wolseley, carry a clutch bag in the daytime and while away long afternoons in Joseph on Bond Street.  His customers are the ladies who don't carry an SLR to fashion week.  If only he was still showing menswear!!      

Friday, 23 September 2011

Alex Loves Me

Now that her site is back up and running, Alex posted these photos of me from around fashion week.  I knew I should never have told her how to work her camera...  Above I'm wearing my John Rocha outfit - the snakeprint chiffon shirt and tinsel headband are both from the A/W 11 collection - when we sat together at the Jasper Conran show.  Jasper sent out a lovely decoupaged invitation that you could see through. 

A close-up of my freshly dip-dyed locks!  They were such a wonderful pastel shade of blue...Well, it was nice for the day that it lasted.  You can also see the print on the Givenchy top I bought during the Paris shows last season. 

LFW S/S 12: Unconditional

Unconditional's show drew a different crowd from the others at fashion week; the front row benches were pretty packed with drag queens and transsexuals (the only ones I recognised being Jodie Harsh and Pete Burns) and we had our fair share of muscle marys in skin-tight sleeveless tops and slicked back hair.  I'm not totally sure why since the outfits on the catwalk were less drag-queeny and more trendy-nightclub (somewhere outside of London, natch).  The flowing silk (?) dresses verged on demure but that was made up for by sexy, muscled boys wearing bondage accessories and leather shorts.  The jewellery and harnesses by Una Burke were fab as would be expected from such a great artist.  I also liked the shoes, although a white pair of hi-tops bore slightly too much of a resemblance to a Raf pair I know oh so well...  The colour-blocked neons at the end felt a bit tired, as if the designers were trying too hard to follow rather than set sartorial trends.  Still, there were lots of great individual pieces here and it seems Unconditional is set to take over the market once catered for by All Saints.   

LFW S/S 12: Fred Butler hosted by Susie Bubble

I've been a fan of Fred Butler's rainbow metallic headgear for a while - what kind of duck doesn't love an acetate origami hair piece? - but I wasn't totally convinced by her first steps into full RTW.  It doesn't help that when I got to the presentation (after queuing for what seemed like a lifetime) neither Fred nor Susie B who was meant to be hosting us was actually present.  That wasn't their faults since the traffic was ridiculous due an ill-timed bike race (don't they know it's fashion week??) but it meant I didn't get the pieces explained to me, nor did I get a chance to watch the accompanying fashion film.  I had to dash off quickly as well so I couldn't wait around for the presentation to begin properly :-( 

The accessories, as one would expect from Fred, were fabulous.  I loved the simple headband festooned with neon flowery swirls and the shoes with geometric pom-pom attachments.  These are kooky pieces which are still simple and small enough to brighten up another outfit.  But when everything was worn together with the 'dresses' and 'capes' the look was just too much for me.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Lost Soul - Charlie May's S/S 12 Film

It completely amazes me how, with this just her first collection since graduation, Charlie manages everything about her brand so professionally.  Her new fashion short film is fabulous, and props to Alexxsia for the excellent art direction!  

Clothing - Charlie May 
Film by Mark Gostick
Model - Ellen Gibbons at Elite
Art Direction - Alexxsia Elizabeth
Hair and Make-up - Sophie Higginson
Music - Chelsea Woolf


LFW S/S 12: Holly Fulton

I thought Holly Fulton's show was really fun and colourful, tapping into the joyful vibe a lot of London designers seem to be chanelling for S/S 12.  The highlights were the prints and embellishments, with a beaded clutch being my absolute favourite.  I also liked the zebra-print clutch which could operate as a very chic iPad case, no?  It did appear, however, that some of the designs or patterns were quite similar to Holly's previous collections and maybe she isn't moving forward as rapidly as some of her London contemporaries.  Then again, maybe she's found the groove that works for her commercially and she's sticking.        

LFW S/S 12: Francesca Marotta

Francesca Marotta is a stylist and designer I've only come to know recently - I'd heard of her before but we only met in person at the Style Zeitgeist party at the Layers store on Conduit Street last weekend (where I also got to meet up with Scottish blogging friend, Dress Me Best Jess).  She was so kind to invite me to the launch of her brand at St Martin's Lane, scene of many a drunken Duck escapade.  Her first collection consists of glamorous evening gowns, as well as a selection of shoes, bags and jewellery made in collaboration with other artists.  The centrepiece was a stunning black dress featuring layer upon layer of tulle in its train.  Perhaps not the most practical item but fabulous couture!  

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

LFW S/S 12: John Rocha

I'm sure you all know that John Rocha is one of my favourite designers in London and so I was very excited to see his show again this season.  He doesn't follow trends but walks his own creative path through fashion, creating elegant, textured and beautiful pieces.  This season I wasn't disappointed.  Well, I was a little disappointed because he chose not to show menswear - I do hope there will still be a collection for the store next season!  The womenswear, however, was fabulous.  Matted feathers were used like papier-mâché to create dense structures which were contrasted with layers of sheer black or cream fabric.  The headpieces - feathered horns and tails erupting from wire frames - were incredible and I'm hoping they'll be relatively affordable...  

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

LFW S/S 12: Sister by Sibling + NEWGEN

Sibling showed their Sister collection as part of a small presentation in the NEWGEN huts outside Somerset House.  There wasn't much space and the place was pretty rammed so I didn't stay around to take too many photos (I got a sneak-peek of the collection back in Paris during menswear week) but I really liked the circus/country fair set-up and the shimmering tops.

I also had a wander around the other NEWGEN designer's stalls - I had to see those J.W. Anderson prints and furry knits from last season up-close!  So nice, but I'm never going to be able to afford them at the current retail prices :-/  I also snapped this wonderful solid corsage by Jordan Askill, but more on that later.


LFW S/S 12: Craig Lawrence

Despite a run-in with a disgruntled and bolshy PR lady, Alex and I did manage to see Craig Lawrence's latest collection along with what seems like half the fashion world!  Diane Pernet and Melanie Rickey were sitting front row.  The knitwear this season was lighter than last time, with lots of open weaves and trailing yarn, but everything was still quite body-conscious.  The origami lattice headpieces were quite incredible.  The final dress below is reminiscent of Alaia, n'est-ce pas?    

LFW S/S 12: Jasper Conran

Jasper Conran's show was simple and chic.  I loved the totals looks in bold colours or black and white, and the clean lines of the dresses and t's.  Some of the dresses, however, were split so high at the front and back as to leave very little to the imagination - not sure how many of Conran's customers will be able to pull those off!  Oh, and don't confused Jasper with his father Terence like I did...  That was an embarrassing pre-show moment!


Daks fits into the Ralph Lauren/Burberry traditional sportswear group and therefore isn't exactly my style, but I have really enjoyed seeing previous collections which have been lighter, more modern takes on classic elegance.  This time around, however, I wasn't quite taken by the clothes or the atmosphere and agree with Emily from Fashion Foie Gras's conclusion: "We were led to believe we would see great vintage style updated to suit the modern woman. That was delivered here and there but the collection as a whole seemed tired and bland."  Maybe next season... 

Monday, 19 September 2011

LFW S/S 12: Ann-Sofie Back Atelje

I haven't been to an Ann-Sofie Back show for a couple of seasons and her Atelje collection has really been a return to form.  Chic and stylish, minimal yet not boring, it was beauty in a palette of stone, grey, navy, black and eye-watering neon pink.  It has definitely made it into my top three shows of fashion week so far!  The accessories were also wonderful - I'm convinced I can make those black square 'totes' and metallic pink clutches unisex...

LFW S/S 12: b Store

Simon, Navaz, Olivia and I were left a little bit confused by b Store's men's and womenswear presentation this season.  Held in a decaying house near Regent's Park, it had all the makings of a great and quirky show.  But then it turned out the presentation was actually a live film of the models wearing the clothes, shown to us in a room next to the one the models were in, projected onto screens that blurred the image to the point of being barely visible.  I'm not really sure what the thinking was behind this because I barely got any shots of the clothes except for the models waiting on some stairs to go to be filmed.  We also had to spend a significant length of time waiting in a holding pen, but at least there were liquid refreshments.  From the photos I managed to snap I like the collection a lot, but I guess I'll need to wait for the lookbook to have a proper...err...look.