Saturday, 27 February 2010

AWww10: Bits and bobs.

Here's what else caught my eye while wandering through the exhibition rooms at Somerset House.

Charming and cute may be two way overused words when it comes to describing Miwako Yoshioka's Bark jewellery but there's nothing wrong with either of those. After all, she finds inspiration in her own childhood memories as well as small, whimsical discoveries like vintage buttons and semi-precious beads so a sweetly nostalgic nature is to be anticipated. There is a good sense of humour here too, as in the bow tie with a silver crown or the swan and is-it-a-fox? necklaces. Look at it this way; any girl that artfully places a bowler hat on her framed logo gets my vote!

Aristide felt like a real discovery to me, walking into a back room with lovely Rachel fromRandom Fashion Coolness and falling in love with these soft-as-butter leather gloves featuring little star shaped cutouts and bows as rings. I must confess I don't yet know much about the label (but intend to find out more soon) and seeing as their website is currently under construction, I will have to refer you to Rachel who effortlessly broke into perfect French with the the lovely French guy manning the stand (who may very well be Aristide himself) while I daydreamed about wearing the gloves while driving to my chateau outside Paris. I can't drive, my French remains pitiful and...oh, do I need to spell it out? I don't own a chateau. Yet!

I'm pretty sure everyone knows Jas M.B. and their wonderful leather bags. So, I will spare you the details and let you oooh and aaah along with me at this little beauty.

Natascha Stolle's label is getting more and more exciting by the minute (a collaboration with Asos and designing bStore's first womenswear collection add to that), not that it hasn't been full of promise and character so far! This print really grabbed me so look out for a closer follow up soon.

I love Sykes. I just do. I find the line and Joanna herself intelligent, on the point and simply fantastic. Last season's presentation was one of my highlights of the season and I was really looking forward to seeing how the label has progressed for AW10. I really think Sykes has the context and character to develop in one of those designers we look to for guidance on what to wear next. The presentation was to take place at the St Martins Lane. I made my way through the backstreets of Covent Garden, arrived on time and waited for it to start. Sadly, it was running late and I had to leave before it started to catch the screening of Alice in Wonderland at the Soho hotel. This has to be another follow-up and for now, these pics from the exhibition of a gorgeous grey jacket will have to suffice.

All images by myself.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

AWww10: δεύτερη ημέρα or Day 2

Day 2 was fun, fun, fun! I always think a Charles Anastase show is fun no matter how much it ends up puzzling me, and this one was a puzzle alright. To me, Anastase's girl is like an eccentric French auntie. I love to visit her, for macaroons and whisky in dainty tea cups, bien sur, but I always freeze at her front door wondering what she will appear as each time. As it turns out, she's a crazy gardener right now. Showing at the back of South Molton Lane's Music Rooms, up some stairs, to the rooftop and down some steps I wouldn't have been surprised if we then had to climb through an open window into someone's Mayfair apartments. We walked into a white room instead, Yoko Ono answered the phone on the soundtrack and Anastase's girls came out in big hair, big shoes and big, cosy felt/wool coats in delicious bright blocks of colours: red, pink, turquoise, coral, yellow. The silhouette felt Seventies, the trousers were wide and enough quirky touches were there - naïf appliqués on tulle - as guarantee that I will be thinking about this show for a while yet. Did I like it? What a silly question and as my crazy Auntie would say, drink up!

(Big hair everywhere!)

(doesn't this feel like a surreal dream?)

Oh, Topshop, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love your LFW venue, its cafe and food. I know some girls that love its waiters too! I love the energy, mischief and, here's a new word, fun you splash all over your Unique show. I love the crunchy leaves that made up the catwalk and I love every single piece you showed; the big, teddy-fur coats, the little boy scout blazer, the shearling jackets and thick, cable knit socks. And I adored the duffle coat too. I love the fact your prints were wild, you knitted squirrels on a long cardigan and that your fur was fake, faux, falso. I love the mushroom print on delicate little cream lace and macrame dresses and since you ask, why, sure I will put on my name-embroidered pjs and bad-bad-woolf hat and run down the woods with you tonight!

(the backs were as interesting as the front of each piece)

(a little bit of La Lanphear and a little bit of Random Fashion Coolness!)

(Hi Rachel! Bonjour Garance! Hey Scott!)

What I find fascinating about London designers is the way you literally see their work's character and focus evolve season after season. Take Emilio de la Morena, for example. He has established his label as a go-to for beautiful body-con dresses with an architectural edge in their lines and shapes. This time, he's experimenting with the good, old parka in collaboration with Loro Piana and whether this works or not for some is to be debated. What is certain is his masterly touch with folds and drapes on a skirt that showcase the various layers involved in the construction of each of his dresses. I particularly loved the white/cream sheer silk organza layers that fluttered underneath the skirt and peeked above a neckline. I also like seeing his collaboration on the shoes with Charlotte Olympia going from strength to strength; shiny, metallic and fringed boots? I'm already excited for next season!

Since fun is clearly the word in this post, could there be a better designer to define it in fashion terms than Louise Gray? Doubt it! Her Portico Rooms presentation was fantastic, bright, colourful fun with a print/pattern/fabric Gray-mash-up the likes of which Glee would be sick jealous of. The smiles on everyone's faces, and the models' alone, said it all.

(Louise chatting to US Vogue's Meredith Melling Burke)

Like I said, it's all serious fun!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

AWww10: Coins, shoes and some old scraps of brilliance!

Even people watching can get too much at LFW (difficult but possible) so during a welcomed lull in my schedule, and in order to escape the freeeezing cold that even Topshop's hot choc station can't soothe, I wondered the endless corridors and rooms that make up the buildings of Somerset House, for a first look at what this season's exhibition had to offer. Plenty, it turns out.

I am falling more and more in love with Christopher Raeburn's line of bright-coloured raincoats and jackets made of recycled and reused military clothing and parachutes. For AW10, he takes his concept further by adding a Limited Edition part of re-appropriated heavier winter-wear. He will produce only 50 of each. There is a real sense of history to each of these garments, one that I found oddly moving; a wool bomber jacket that in all likelihood once saw battle, an Inuit coat that features battered leather detailing. A label sewn on a jacket's sleeve testifies to its history, the year on it is 1951. The number 13 is imprinted below it, lucky 13 I hope.

I also found Laura Lee's jewellery moving, perhaps because I associate coins used as jewellery with my Greek heritage where old gold Lira coins are passed down as family treasures on rings, charms and those dangly earrings I passionately disliked as a child. No such feelings for Laura's "Pennies from Heaven"!

Michael Lewis is one of those designers with such strong CVs you would trust anything he creates. Fifteen years of experience working for Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Burberry and Gucci before reinvigorating Kurt Geiger mean he knows shoes but there is also a freshness and enthusiasm to his designs usually associated with young designers at the start of their careers. The fact that for AW10 he looked at Eighties car culture for inspiration also shows a great sense of humour, which means you will probably want to be his best friend too!

All images by myself.

AWww10: Premier Jour or Day 1

Put down that brownie, call the neighbours, stop the press: London Fashion Week is suddenly upon us. Breaking news? Hardly, of course, and you're all far way ahead of me already seeing as it's coming to an end with today's menswear shows. On the brink of history yet again Kiki, full marks!

The day started as all days should: with a Mercedes Benz waiting outside my house and even better, carrying Sasha and Daniel, the driver, who as the week developed, emerged a legend. Hence his new name: Lovely Daniel. It's always a good moment when you enter the Somerset House courtyard for Fashion Week. No matter how many times I visit, for gigs, ice-skating and exhibitions, it always manages to lift my spirits. I also met up with our wild little bunch of bloggers, which included Random Fashion Coolness, Mlle Robot, Disney Roller Girl and, of course, LLG. Apologies if I have forgotten anyone, I'm sure I have but a nasty cold has hit me hard and I can just about remember my own name right now. From the look of my nose I think it's Rudolph!

I saw - and again, this may not be the correct order - David Koma, Jena.Theo, BodyAmr, Felder Felder, Jean-Pierre Braganza, Hannah Marshall and Sass &Bide. David Koma was intriguing, nonetheless due to the sudden influx of attention thrust upon this young designer ever since a certain Ms Cole and a delightful Ms Knowles wore his designs. He put on a confident show to a full house and managed to both cleverly evolve his identity and satisfy those who wanted to see his tight, sexy, put-me-on-a-stage-and-watch dresses. On a strict black, grey and nude palette, I loved the zig-zag/thunder cutout patterns as well as the 3D metal, zip-like detailing on sleeves and shoulders. (apologies for the dodgy camera work!)

Something happened to the Felder Felder sisters and I like it! They got tougher, more confident perhaps, and so did their clothes. Their show was definitely one of my highlights of the day, especially their copper chain detailing. The press notes suggested Bram Stoker's Dracula and Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow as references to confirm a gothic, dark edge to the sisters' genuine romantic streak. (my camera's memory ran low so I could not film the entire walk-through)

Walking into the Orla Kiely presentation at my beloved Portico Rooms was stepping into her world; the walls were wallpapered and the furniture and stools upholstered in her fabrics and patterns. The autumnal palette of browns could easily push one to think of a dull Britain pre-Beatles, post-Vera Drake but Kiely's collection was light, sweet, youthfull in the rounded edges of the shoes and shiny quilted bags. Let's just say that Carey Mulligan's Jenny in An Education would find plenty here to wear!

And from Orla Kiely's Sixties to Sass & Bide's Australian cool (were those shark teeth patterns I saw?) and finally, home.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

BLOG BLESS: Liberty London Sasha!

I may have to stop myself from starting each post with "this is a week late but..." seeing as this is, more or less, a given these days. And indeed, this post is more than a week late but I felt that I couldn't start my - you guessed it, late London Fashion Week posts without mentioning this first.

You may have read this at LibertyLondonGirl's own post or you could be following me on Twitter (hello!) and therefore experienced one of my exasperated, overexcited rants about doing LFW with LibertyLondonGirl this season and hanging out in the Merc with her and a gang of equally lovely fellow bloggers but here goes the story. Proving that the best things in life do actually happen on a whim, an exchange of emails between us, two weeks ago, followed one of LLG's tweets about needing a hundred or so assistants due to the ever-increasing number of projects she has coming up. And just like that, I found myself chatting to a lovely LLG on the phone, meeting her, planning out her then impending 'big reveal' interview in Grazia, her trip to Copenhagen Fashion Week and requesting tickets for LFW, all in exchange for Posetta Baddog (not really.)

So, there you have it: LibertyLondonGirl, Liberty, LLG or you-know-the-blog-I-really-like to my boyfriend, is Sasha Wilkins and she is lovely and hanging out with her these past few days has been so much fun and well, If I may say so, this may be the start of a beautiful friendship. Unless I kidnap Posetta, of course!

Image by Jackie Dixon for LibertyLondonGirl.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

I HEART: A Single Man to Cherish!

This post comes quite late and I wish I could list a bunch of super-glamorlicious reasons why. I'm afraid it's plain old being busy, with a touch of my characteristic easy nature (!) when it comes to scheduling and a sprinkle of 'sure, I have time to read and browse through every single blog EVER' and 'aaah, where did the time go'. On closer inspection, it looks like it's simply taken methat long, a week tomorrow, to get over the miracle of human kind that is Tom Ford. Yep, that's it.
So, I will try not to gush (impossible) and remain objective to my thoughts on his directorial debut A Single Man and the Q&A that followed a preview at the Curzon Mayfair last Thursday (are you trembling Dr Kermode?).

I'd like to start by gushing (duh!) at Tom Ford and a really great Q&A; great mainly, and if I was being harsh solely, due to the fact that Mr Ford (the formality is my useless attempt at appearing objective) glided onto the stage, immaculate in suit, greeted the audience (who am I kidding, his fans), took his microphone and DID NOT STOP TALKING. Don't get me wrong, that was good. The man (aka God) is a machine and he talked, in his elegant, unhurried, quiet tone, about the movie, how he came to direct, why Isherwood's novel, why Colin Firth and I'm convinced that If he could have stayed all night he would go on. Or perhaps he'd invite us all back to Scott's for a couple of dozens of West Mersea Natives and a round of Old Fashioneds (do catch up).

What was really obvious is how engaged Tom (we're on first name basis now) is with his film, and trust me, it is his film. There are personal references there - such as the scene on the sofa where Colin Firth and Matthew Goode's characters are reading their books (Kafka's Metamorphosis and Capore's Breakfast at Tiffany's, respectively!) with their dogs by their side (Tom's own included). From the dark wood interior of George's house (actually currently on sale but Tom doubts you'd want to buy it - so small they had to film everything in one room!) to his suits (duh!), you're entering Fordland. Ignore all criticisms that the film is too stylish, I haven't heard anyone complain about excess style in a Michael Mann film. Mr Ford is uniquely gifted in managing every single detail of any project that passes through his hands and I personally felt that this was put in great use here. George wakes up and starts his usual process of becoming George (not too be confused with Becoming Jane - very different processes indeed), with his crisp white shirt, skinny tie, perfect nails - small details that matter in simultaneously showing off both the ability that beautiful, luxurious objects have to transform us and their inability to become anything more than that. Life's valuables lie in experiences, people, beautiful moments and that's what George's day is all about.

The film is beyond impressive for so many reasons but mainly because this is his first film and you just can't believe it. It is so accomplished but do think about it more as a small, beautiful indie film. Tom financed the entire project himself and therefore had all creative control over it, no big production boss barking down orders according to the latest statistics they've got their hands on. But as he declared, he is in control of his projects and could not see himself working on a big studio project. Their loss. It is also remarkably touching and moving, all down to the wonderful script with its minimal text and Colin Firth's performance, which is inspired to the last flicker of emotion that's seen through his eyes. Firth was Ford's first choice for the role of George and interestingly enough, Colin had to drop out of the film, which left Tom with a different English actor (who, who?) who then also had to move on, to do work that paid, as Ford put it. Ford recalls leaving the Mama Mia premiere in London and almost crying to his partner, Richard Buckley, that he had to get Firth. As it happened, Firth became available, loved the script and days later was on set. In fact, when asked, Tom said he had to give very little direction to him other than technical details although, and this is my favourite moment of the evening, nay, the week, he did ask Colin to watch this one Bill Clinton video. There are a lot of close-ups on Firth's face so Tom gave him a video where Clinton is asked:

- "Mr. Clinton, did you ever have a sexual relationship with Ms Lewinsky?"
Bill - (straight face) "No."
- "Mr. Clinton, was there an incident with a cigar?"
Bill - (straight face but a wave passes over it ['the most amazing thing I have ever watched!' Tom] and you can see he's thinking: 'Fuck. I've screwed up. Fuuuuuuuuck!!! and he replies) "No."

Genius, no? Go and see it, for the beautiful music, the fantastic costumes by Ford and Arianne Phillips (not nominated for an Oscar, Academy?), Julianne Moore as a gloriously beautiful and stunningly drunk English aristo, the love in it all. Or, just go and see it for Nicholas Hoult who is mesmerising, to say the least. See it at the Curson Mayfair, if you can, and look up at the ceiling when George is at the bank and the little girl in blue approaches him. The ceiling of the bank reflected on the polished floor is exactly the same as Curzon's! But don't look too long or you'll miss Firth's face, and we all know what we'd rather be looking at. And then walk up to Scott's, get yourself an Old Fashioned and let it all sink it. It will but it might take a week or so.

Images by myself and Dazed Digital.