Thursday, 26 February 2009

Running with the rumour mill

Now that Katie Grand has flown the nest at Bauer and moved over to Conde Nast to spread the Love, a replacement for her is needed at the helm of Pop magazine. Rumour has it that it may be Roman Abramovich's other half, Russian socialite and clothes horse Dasha Zhukova. Wonder what Katie Grand thinks of a Russian takeover? Hope it doesn't result in another cold front, harhar.

Get Thrifty

Ooooh how intriguing. If the last big vintage sale I went to was anything to go by, this should be good, but also packed, sweaty and with vintage enthusiasts breaking into near hyperventilating fits, fighting and trampling each other to grab that 50s prom dress first. Can't wait!

ch-ch-ch check it out!
The East End Thrift Store Vintage Shopping Party

Get Into The Groove

An eerie looking girl in a dark room was the star of a video installation that started the Cooperative Designs fashion show. And once she had finished sufficiently creeping out the audience, the lights dimmed and the first model strutted down the catwalk complete with flared legwarmers and knitted breastplate.

If knitwear isn't you cup of tea, then you were out of luck at the Cooperative Designs show, as that's what design duo Annalisa Dunn and Dorothee Hagemann do best. Big, crazy knits were paramount, accessorised with knitted legwarmers and ridiculously huge, backcombed hair. Like many other shows this week the dominating colours were the staples black, white and grey with hints of red and orange. An oversized red jumper dress was my personal favourite, but the crazy award has to go to a dress made entirely from almost football sized knitted baubles. Dazed and Confused's oh-so-trendy fashion editor Katie Shillingford sat front row and lapped up the show, as we all bopped along to Madonna's Get Into The Groove and, erm, got into the groove!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

William Tempest creates a storm at LFW

Expectations were high for fashion newbie William Tempest's first stand alone London Fashion Week show. With Emma Watson, Jasmine Guiness and fashion force Hilary Tempest sitting eagerly in the front row, the pressure was on for the LCF grad. That Zezzi one from Big Brother's Big Mouth was also front row, but whatever. The lights dimmed, music soared and out strutted the models. Architctural clothes inspired by Philippa Gregory's historical, romantic novel 'The Virgin's Lover' ruled the roost, with exaggerated busts, shoulders and tulip shaped skirts giving a nod to the Tudor inspiration. Skirt bottoms were folded and almost resembled oragami. While Tudor was the obvious inspiration, some silhouettes could have been straight out of Star Trek, with pointed edges prominent.

Colours were brighter than other shows , black and white with literal splashes of purple and pink and touches of turquoise. Prints were also seen. As well as paint splashed effects jackets had pearl prints and Henry VIII's face emblazened on them. A deafening clap and cheer as Tempest shyly walked down the catwalk cemented him as a new designer force to be reckoned with.

Roll up for the pyjama party

Fashion has always had a love/hate relationship with practicality – Gareth Pugh sending a model stumbling down the catwalk with a shiny square box for a head, or Viktor and Rolf’s experimental fashion shows anyone?

While I’ve always loved the weird and wonderful in fashion, I’m not sure I’m on board with the latest trend making the runway rounds, silk pyjama suits and trousers - but worn as outerwear, obviously. These shiny wares have been seen on the catwalks of Marni and Louis Vuitton and have graced every fashion magazine’s pages in the latest Dolce and Gabbana ads, all translating to the fact that they’re going to be on every style savvy individual’s wish list this spring.

I’m sure they’re very comfy, but what with the typical English weather they may not be the most practical attire for nipping to Sainsburys for the paper. And when not even Jessica Alba can get it right, you know this is a trend to steer clear of. Even though Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana say there is nothing better to slip into than gentlemen’s silk pyjamas, I think I’ll leave them to Hugh Hefner.

I Heart Crazies

London Fashion Week always bring out the crazies, like Hallowe'en or good weather. And this week, there were some pretty special ones around. Case in point, Mr. Bling. He turned up at the Nico Didonna show, and shone. Literally. There was so much bling around his neck I'm surprised he could hold it up. Coupled with several thousand chains was a metallic silver jacket and matching shoes, some pimped out shades, a knuckleduster ring on every finger and a rock in each ear the size of a golf ball. He looked like he'd walked into a jewellery store in a magnetic suit, everything stuck to him and then he walked out, still thinking "yes, I am the shit". Mr. Bling, get a clue, it's a recession. You're lucky it was Kensington you were walking around, take a stroll through South London and someone will rob you and pawn you for KFC money.

But Mr. Bling was not alone, oh no. It turns out Kensington has so many crazies it could give Camberwell a run for its money. While enjoying a salad in Pret A Manger, in walks crazy number two: Old Man Aladdin. Wearing a brown velvet turban, pea green silk scarf, ornate decorated blazer, hareem trousers and Aladdin slippers, he really was a picture, and didn't actually look that out of place among the fashion folk. Until he started to dance that is. Doing ballet moves around Pret, cappucino still firmly in hand he flicked his scarf and twirled his arms while piroeting past some tuna sandwiches, encountering some bemused looks as he went. He danced his way outside in a world of his own, calm demeanour still intact. But that all changed as he screamed at some shocked girls to give up seats. They ran off so fast that one forgot her goody bag. He then continued his vogueing in his seat, only stopping to bark like a dog at some toffs, who jumped a good three foot off the ground. Legend.

Why I love rich people

Walking around in Kensington for the past few days I have seen a lot of uber rich people. The kind that do their weekly food shop in Harrods and spend £6.50 on a bag on Granny Smith apples, go home and park their Porsche Carrera beside their Range Rover in the driveway of their million pound townhouse and say plaaah-stic instead of plastic. Ugh. I would readily admit I can't stand them, partly because the ones that I've encountered have been twats and partly because I'm ridiculously jealous. But that was the old me.

Whilst strolling through the tree lined streets of the Gloucester Road area with nothing to do, as I had mixed up the time of the Ashley Isham show and missed it (Alex pointed out that it's my memory loss from growing old, it's a sore subject) we happened across an Oxfam and ventured in, hearing rumours that rich people threw out really good things.

After about ten minutes Alex picked up a pair of Golden Goose black biker boots adorned with a few studs. They weren't her size so she handed them over, and I pushed my foot in, pondered for a while as to whether I looked like a mini Hells Angel, and then bought them for a paltry £30.

I later googleed them and it turns out that they are limited edition handmade Italian leather boots that cost - wait for it - $1,145. Seriously. I know, ohmygod. Thank you Alex's feet for being to big. Who impulse buys $1,145 boots and then throws them out?! Answer: Rich people. And that's why I love them.

We then ventured to Harrods and bought £950 Belluga caviar and washed it down with several bottles of Bollinger. Naturally.

Who needs a fashion show?

Esteemed design duo and Saint Martins grads (surprise surprise) Antoni and Alison seemed to be feeling the pinch of our God awful economy just as much as the rest of us. This was evident in their penny saving London Fashion Week presentation. But instead of coming across as cheap and effortless the presentation was a refreshing change in a sea of samey catwalk shows.

Sitting in a little dark room in a dishevelled Kensington townhouse, floor to ceiling projections of the duo's latest collections flashed on the wall, to the backtrack of Antoni and Alison discussing the clothes and having a bit of a banter. A chat with the designers later revealed that that's exactly what they wanted, a move away from glamour and consumerism to a more organic, arty way of showing their clothes. They completely achieved their aim and I emerged from that little dark room with a fresh outlook.

The clothes themselves were irreverent with a sense of humour. Silk scarves covered in pen scribbles and drawn on looking cashmere jumpers made up most of the collection. I imagine them on a yummy mummy with a quirky personality. They even created their own multi-coloured Olympic logo emblazed on cashmere, a much better design that the chosen Lisa Simpson giving a blow job one. "We love dull things", said the designer's conversation coming from the speakers. You wouldn't think so with the bright, humorous collection.

Asked how they would describe their ideal customer, they replied: “An individual who can't believe their luck in finding a fantastic, inspirational piece of Antoni & Alison clothing to either own or just to look at.” Perfect answer.

Everybody Loves Betty

Betty Jackson's AW 09 collection has already been named her best in years, and it's easy to see why. The collection showed an eclectic mix of quintessentially English winter wares, cropped mohair jumpers, silk pyjamas and over sized shoulder skimming earrings. Pastel colours of duck egg blue, pale yellow and dusky pink were mixed with the classic combo of black and white. Prints were 80s inspired zebra and a whimsical almost woodland print.

Materials were luxurious brushed mohair, silk and even a little crushed velvet. Ruffles were the buzzword and so were, er, backpacks. These not so stylish items seem to be making a comeback, on Gucci's catwalks last year and now Betty Jackson is jumping on the bandwagon. There was nothing crazy about the clothes, however, oozing a wearable but chic vibe, no models struggling with boxes on their heads here! The show reaches its climax with cool-as-a-cucumber Jourdan Dunn strutting down the catwalk- and still managing to make MC Hammer trousers look cool. All hail queen Betty.

Debenhams Defunct

Mention John Rocha's name and it usually conjures up connotations of Debenhams- granny-esque, far from fetching nylon and altogether not too cool clothes. Maybe John Rocha was aware of these as well because his AW 09 collection couldn't have been further from the drabness that is Debenhams.

Models shimmied down the catwalk in silky nudes, elegant tweeds and fiery orange tones. Volume was a big deal again with ruffles, balloon and lantern silhouettes dominating outfits. Headbands were huge and exaggerated a la Carrie from the Sex and the City days past. The most incongruous pieces for John Rocha, however, were the encrusted collars. Padded, attachable diamond (well I'm guessing not real diamonds, but y'know what I mean) collars gave every outfit an extra special sparkle. It looks like there's more to John Rocha than Debenhams after all.

Monday, 23 February 2009


The next show was that of Andrew Majtenyi in Canada House, Trafalgar Square. After panicking outside for a good 10 minutes due to the usual lateness of Ailsa, we headed past the burly Irish doorman and swooped up several glasses of champers. In hindsight I should have downed more, it may have given me beer goggles and made the clothes a little more palettable, because quite frankly they were gross.

Sat next to a over assuming, slimy prat who claimed to be from the Financial Times, I cringed as the show started to a soundtrack of Euro trash music straight out of the Eurovision. I felt like I was stuck in a weird Eastern European vortex. And then came the clothes. Oh dear. Shiny pleather patched dresses, sheer nylon blouses and tacky lace in dark green and turquoise. They looked like cheap Versace rip-offs. Or Austin Powers cast offs. Or Elephant and Castle market bargain bin goodies. Well, maybe the last comparisson was a little harsh, but you get the idea, they were bad.

But at least the goody bags provided some entertainment. Flowers in a can and a bikini line loofah were cosied up to some plastic pink pegs. Thankfully this goody bag provided the perfect obligatory joke birthday present for my friend Joe later that evening. All was not lost.

A Black Mood

San Francisco born designer Alexandra Groover was the next to show in the Vauxhall Fashion Scout tent. The show was 45 minutes late to start so I stood outside the doors mourning my blistered feet (a curse on you, high heels) and taking in the crowd, a host of Hoxton-esque scenesters, all trying to out-cool each other.

When the doors finally opened we all poured in and I watched a few ambitious scenesters nick the goody bags off the front row, good idea! The lights dimmed and the models strutted out, all dressed in Groover's signature black. As before, it was all about the volume. Models twirled to show off the movement of the clothes, as dresses made from strpis of material that looked like they'd been through a paper shredder a couple of times whirred around the catwalk. Personally I found the clothes altogether uninspiring, probably to do with the dull, predictable palette. I wasn't too keen on Grim Reaper-esque hoods either. My only standout favourite was the black satin harem trousers that look set to be huge in the coming months. They're going to be my new leather leggings...

Jeong Love

Moving along, moving along. Next show is up and it's CSM grad Eun Jeong. She's doing pretty well for herself already, after graduating Jeong had a window display all to herself in Selfridges. A pretty big deal. So I was expecting great things from this show. Also, first celebrity spot. Supermodel and Marks and Spencers extrodinaire Erin O' Connor having a natter to the Telegraph's guru Hilary Alexander. Oooh!

Eun Jeong's Black Vanity show started to a packed tent, all eyes on the catwalk. The first model sauntered out and one word reigned supreme- volume, a theme that continued through each outfit. Colour was minimal, only black, cream, orange and a little pink featured. Oversized ruffles billowed from dresses, tops and the hybrid jumpsuit/boobtube. These were something like trousers that continued almost up to the neck- high waisted and then some. Innovative, but you'd have to be incredibly skinny and six foot to pull them off. That's me out then, sob!

I have to also mention the coats. AMAZING! Either in black or orange and both as beautiful as each other. They were similar to the duffel coat but with deep v necks and large buttons giving way to pleated sides with ridiculously intricately beaded oversized hoods. I want one but will probably have to win the loto first. Gutted.

The successful collection is guaranteed to make Eun Jeong a coveted, red carpet worthy lable very soon. Mark my words.

Neon feather boas and other adventures

So, I've succumbed, given in, caved, jumped on the bandwagon and all that jazz. In short, I 've only gone and got myself a lovely, new, shiny blog. And now that I can breathe in the lull between Fashion Week shows I'm going to write about them. First to the step up to the chopping block, Caroline Charles.

But before discussing the ins and outs of the esteemed desig
ners collection, a mention, in true Fashion Week style of a ridiculous yet totally awesome crime of fashion. So, this woman who I can only assume is pretty important because she was lauding herself around like Donatella Versace's doppelganger needs to be jailed for public indecency. The outfit was horrendous. My jaw dropped. I was too shocked to take a picture (shame).

Picture this: Black bodycon slashed to the belly button (practically) and mini. On a fifty year old. But oh, there is more. A huge neon pink and yellow feather boa attached to the hem and collars, like the tie-dyed skin of Big Bird. Coupled with what lookd like an oversized technicolour Skaletrics flower protruding from her wrinkly head. WTF?! Sorry love, this is London Fashion Week, not acid Ascot.

But anywho, I'm deviating from my original point so back to the collection. Muted tones of brown and gold sashayed down the catwalk on demure models with bouffant quiffs to the soundtrack of 30s and 40s jazz. Animal print, oversized waist cinching belts and tweeds were accessorised with baskets of leaves (I don't know if that'll catch on!) as the clothes epitomised English country chic and elegance. Colours were autumnal with obligatory blacks and greys and even a hint of paisley print. Hairpieces were also out in force and look set to be huge for AW09. Good stuff, I love a big ole' hairband, very Blair Waldorf (my apparent idol). I coveted a black tux and skinny tie and jumped for joy (well not literally, but you know, metaphor and all...) when a pair of leather legging rocked their way down the catwalk. I'm a pretty big fan of these babies...

The show ended with an etereal red gown fashioned with floor-length chiffon veil and a bouquet of red roses. A very nice start to the fashionable week.