Monday, 27 September 2010

Hot Water

I did want to call this post 'Tea-bagging' but thought that may be a little too much to handle on a Monday morning. Suffice to say that I WANT THESE NOW as being British, I drink alot of tea and also because the idea of a miniature Karl peering over the edge of a mug/ delicate china teacup makes me happy.

Thanks to Donkey Products, drinking tea at will in tête-à-tête with icons of the fashion world is now possible with a collection of figurative tea bags equipped with the effigies of Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer and Donatella Versace...
 Also, if you're feeling like maybe the fashion world is not for you right now and your mood is more befitting a sharp shooter or monster then the Cup of Fame option may be for you..I particularly like Frankenstein and Audrey.
But if you're in crisis and need a soothing beverage then look no further than the Democratea group.  Obama is my favourite.  Obviously.

Friday, 24 September 2010

D & G & Glee!!

It's Friday and I am in a super happy mood.  One of my weaknessess in life is..don't judge me..musical theatre.  It makes me smile, laugh, mime with an imaginary mike, drift off into daydreams that I should have had a life on the stage in Wicked, Les Mis, Jersey Boys..heck ANYTHING! (I include Disney in this as well just to be clear).  Basically rocking out in my car/ bedroom/ bath/ occasionally at my desk if no-one is around to musicals will always brighten up my day so the wonder that is Glee was designed with me in mind.

Ah Glee, how I love thee.  The bitchiness, the singing, Sue Sylvester.  So imagine the level of excitement I felt when I heard that a talent from my other favourite televisual feast (Mad Men) was to combine with the Glee cast plus a few other luminaries for a skit at the Emmys.

Note to self: probably wasn't a sensible thing to watch in a public place as being almost reduced to the foetal position with laughter can generate some odd glances.

So, what else made me smile? The D&G show actually and I can't say I saw the uber florals coming but my golly I liked them.  The clue was in the invitation, which included a packet of flower seeds. At first glance I was thinking Laura Ashley in the 80s but..well...nicer, shinier somehow.  The set was planted with hydrangea bushes, roses climbed trellises and the catwalk was flanked with a grass border dotted with clumps of  primroses.  As Hurts announced from the speakers that we should “never give up, it’s such a wonderful life”, girls tripped down the catwalk in a floral lace dresses, frilled and flounced around the shoulders and hemlines, wide legged clam diggers and pretty midriff-revealing peasant tops.  Sweet tailored shorts came under matching floral jackets and apron fronted mini dresses accessorised with huge checked bags in bright yellow and red and cork platformed boots (worn with thick woolly socks) and wedged heel, perfect for next Summer's garden parties!

Well done boys!X

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Erdem 10 out of 10!

There were two sources of inspiration for this post, one being that it was the London Fashion Week show yesterday (more of that in a minute) and secondly, that I read a quote by the designer that made me want to high five the man. Now, I'm not going to wade into the size zero debate, suffice to say that yes I do believe that there are a high proportion of models that are ill and underweight but there are a proportion of models who are genetically predisposed to be tall and skinny and that's life! In an ideal world we would all be healthy, eat our five portions of fruit and veg a day, treat ourselves to the occasional pie and not go to the pub multiple times in a week but most of us mere mortals are fallible and at the end of the day, we all want to look good in what we wear which can be a problem with catwalk clothes as they aren't designed with 'normality' in mind.

"It's one thing to design a size-eight catwalk dress, it's another to make sure that dress will proportionally fit someone who is a size 16"

Yes Mr Erdem! Absolutely! What a skill to be able to produce clothes that a versatile enough to look good on everyone. The interview in The Guardian goes on to say... Unusually for a designer, Erdem's sizes go up to a 16. Does he think other designers are blinkered by not offering bigger sizes? "I don't know, it's not my place to say," he says, ever diplomatic. "It's a great thing when you see a dress you have designed and it works in different ways. It's one thing to design a size eight catwalk dress, it's another to make sure that dress will proportionally fit someone who is a size 16. I think it's great, I'm proud of it." And why should only size-eight women be able to buy beautiful clothes? "Exactly. And who are the women who buy designer clothes? If you're buying a dress for £4,000, chances are you might not be a size-six, 18-year-old girl." 

To the all standards his most beautiful yet.  A radiant palette of colour mixing the stunning prints that he has become so known for with simpler dresses that explored texture. I would even consider the first one as an unconventional wedding dress!  With very many thanks to Vogue and for this smattering of pictures. If you could have just one item, what would it be?

Friday, 17 September 2010

All Systems Go!

Well it's started today, POW! The Pope-mobile cruising around London and Fashion Week kicking off and what am I doing...fleeing across the Channel to see our French cousins for a brief 48 hour flying visit back at silly o'clock Monday morning.

Its's kicking off with shows from Australian contingent Sass & Bide, Felder Felder and Hannah Marshall to be followed up by some gems over the weekend; Hot tickets include House Of Holland, Julien Macdonald, Matthew Williamson and Richard Nicholl. I'm also looking forward to seeing the latest offerings from Michael van der Ham and Mary Katrantzou who are both making their solo show debuts but I'll have to catch up with all of that on Monday as I'm powering through my work before hot-footing it to le Eurostar!

In the meantime here are a smattering of iconic images from Fashion Week's past, let's hope this year produces some smashers! What are you excited about seeing? Who should I be looking out for? Isn't it great just to feed off the buzz of the city whilst events like this are going on? Also remember the GREAT event for grabbing bargains, London Fashion Weekend, Thursday 23rd - Sunday 26th September at Somerset House.

In 1995, Kate Moss made a special appearance on the catwalk for Stella McCartney's Central Saint Martins graduate show causing a media storm and generating ALOT of interest for the young designer.
Alexander McQueen's debut collection in 1992 won headlines with his almost-rude, ultra-low-cut bumster trousers. The range made such an impact on Joan Burnstein of Browns that she bought the range for the famous boutique.

Here, for his spring/summer 1996 show, McQueen's trademark clever tailoring was put to cheeky use.
In February 2001 - after her incredibly modest and tasteful July 1999 wedding to David and just six months before the release of her first solo single, Out of Your Mind - Victoria Beckham took a walk down Maria Grachvogel's catwalk.I remember loving her new cropped hair.
Agyness Deyn won the Model of the Year Award at the 2007 British Fashion Awards and called her mother from the stage: "It's my mum on the phone," she said as she took to the stage holding her mobile phone to her ear to collect her award – presented by Roland Mouret.

"Yes Mum, it's like a fashion Oscar. Here, have a word with everyone," she added as she held the phone to the microphone so we could hear the excited squeals of a very proud parent. "She's well chuffed," said Agyness, before thanking Hilary Riva, Alexandra Shulman, the Northern Massive, Katie Grand ("for my first Pop cover”), Mario Testino ("for first putting me in Vogue") and Giles for the dress. "Even though everyone keeps stepping on it, it's still good!"
Hussein Chalayan’s table dress from his autumn/winter 2001-2 show – during which models took off chair covers to dress themselves before using the furniture itself - was the epitome of conceptual fashion...though not perhaps the easiest for popping to the shops.
Sophie Dahl's first appearance at London Fashion Week came in 1997 – two years after she'd been discovered "crying on a doorstep after a row with her mother" by Isabella Blow. During the autumn/winter 1997-8 collections, Sophie and her famous curves modelled knitwear that left little to the imagination by Lainey Keogh.
Recognise the chap on the left?! The first London Fashion Week in the format that we know it happened in March 1984: John Galliano, Ghost, Betty Jackson, Wendy Dagworthy, Zandra Rhodes and Jean Muir Bodymap were featured on the schedule. Here, a young John Galliano is pictured receiving the British Designer of the Year award three years later, in 1987, from Trade and Industry secretary Lord Young.
And lastly..just because it brings a smile to my the Anglomania Autumn/ Winter 1993 show..a certain super took a tumble..!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Drawing Inspiration

As the manic Fashion Weeks advance (New York well under way, London approaching followed inexorably by the others) most of us are starting to accept that it's cold outside, rapidly getting dark earlier, Christmas is yonks away and so the urge to nest kicks in.  Nesting can take many forms, for me it involves pottering around at home, cooking something comforting with the radio on in the background, watching a classic movie in bed with cashmere bed socks and, of course, curling up with a good book and a huge hot chocolate or amaretto depending on my mood.  Now I am well aware that I won't be able to have a nesting day for quite some time but it's good to have something to look forward to and know that you can have a bit of me time, even if you have to squint at it on the horizon.

So while the riotous snaps and flashes of the zoom lenses are starting all over again in NYC, let's enjoy something from a gentler era.  The fashion pack's current favourite coffee-table book 'Fashion Designers' Sketchbooks' (Laurence King, £28) by Hywel Davies features artwork from Yohji Yamamoto, Karl Lagerfeld and Vivienne Westwood, and offers a glimpse into the workings of some of the world's most famous labels, with designers discussing their toiles and fabric choices. Quite the relief from the pap shots and blaaah of the Fashion Weeks.

Wak Kishimoto of Eley Kishimoto
Drawings for print inspiration
"I can’t explain in words what triggers ideas each time. As I still work most of the time in an analogue way, I have many tools and implements that I rely on, from paintbrushes to silk screens. But, if I have to nominate the essentials, it would be the pen and paper nearest to me" 
Amy Molyneaux from PPQ
Design drawings with fabric indication
"Our design process starts with points of reference, ranging from fabrics, works of art, general objects, people or whatever we feel is relevant to the theme we are working towards. It can even be a statement from a friend that suddenly fits into the thought process in our minds. We have a large space for displaying inspiration, and make it new and fresh each season or for each project we are working on."
Peter Jensen
Design drawings
"I like to draw using a black fine-liner and white copier paper. I always like there to be to be a bit of a story to each collection and I always have this idea of the muse, so I am always thinking about that. 
Here's what the bods at Lawrence King have to say about the book...

"Fashion Designers' Sketchbooks explores many major names working in the fashion industry today. Photographs, sketches, mood boards, line-ups, toiles, fabric swatches and more all contribute to the creation of ideas for fashion designs, and here they are brought together for the first time to show how the final work is conceived and developed.

Juxtaposing the garments on the catwalk and in look books with the original research material and with finished illustrations allows for a new perspective on the working methods of leading international designers and on the role of different media in the creation of their work, making the book a fascinating resource for both students and designers."

Antonio Marras for Kenzo
Fabric inspiration and silhouette roughs
“I need many things to nourish my inspiration: objects, images, stories and pieces of cloth. Everything that can make my mind travel and work, I continuously need to see new things, new places, to meet new people to listen to. At the same time, I need to be sure I can still count on old, steady things, things with a past and that already belonged to someone else, often things that have outlived time."
Chris Brooke from Basso & Brooke 3D toile for basket weave dress
"Depending on the piece I’m working on, it may be more important to begin experimenting on the mannequin, as ideas can come about through simply pinning and stitching shapes together, ideas that wouldn’t necessarily come from drawn work. And, then, the results are photographed so I can decide which parts are working and which aren’t. I then mark the fabric and lie it flat to create the flat pattern.”
Margaret Howell
Mood sketch for rain coat
"I always used to draw my ideas for clothes. The drawings were more about creating a mood or a feeling rather than being a specific technical drawing. My drawings are very loose and are more about a style than an exact representation of a garment."
John Galliano
Research books showing fabric ideas and inspiration
"I start with research and from there I build the muse, the idea, tell a story and develop a character, a look and then a collection."
 Another book of sketches that gets my heart a beating is by the inimitable Manolo Blahnik.  His beautiful sketches are often the sole advertisements for his creations when you flick through the pages of the glossies and his tome features an introductory essay by Nuclear Wintour herself...
I adore all of these shoes, I've no idea when I could wear any of them but I could sit and gaze at them for hours if they were on display in my huge Carrie-like walk-in wardrobe (imaginary at the moment)
Pink AND sparkly AND dangly AND Manolo's...My style is not particularly girly but could make an exception..
I can imagine these on a fairy godmother in a very stylish pantomime!
Finally, a satirical self-portrait of the man himself

 N.B. Whilst we're talking about shoes, a trip to Selfridges Show room is definitely in order, apparently it's bigger than the ground floor of the Tate Modern.  Designed by architect Jamie Forbert and with exclusive designs on sale from a host of labels including Givenchy, Chloe, Stella McCartney, Rodarte and Alejandro Ingelmo, the area will house no less than six different salons and 10 brand boutiques.  It sounds LETHAL.  Opens this month!X

Friday, 10 September 2010

Feeling the LOVE

Goodness gracious, the Gorgeous issue of LOVE has arrived and now I've just got to decide which cover to get. Suggestions? It's a fiver a pop otherwise I'd just splash out and buy them all! In my earlier post about getting all excited over September issues, I totally forgot that the second bi-annual issue of LOVE was due, until I saw this incredibly subtle piece of advertising near the Holland Park roundabout and I nearly swerved into the side of Westfield.

The eight covers have been shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot, who truly deserve a post all on their own as they have shot some incredibly iconic images...Naomi naked except for boots and a Catwoman mask, David and Victoria in their Armani scanties, Cameron Diaz covered in truck driver tattoos for V magazine....

For now though feast your eyes on these lovely ladies....the last one in particular, took me by surprise...

Is anyone else getting a kind of 'Betty Draper on acid' vibe with this one?

I'm not entirely sure that 'sweetheart' is the caption I would have used here...

This one freaks me out slightly..
Not usually one of my favourite models as I usually think she looks incredibly smug, but in all fairness, if I polished up like this, I'd be feeling pretty smug too.
If you didn't have the writing scrawled across the front, would you have recognised this young lady?!

Which one should I go for?