Thursday, 23 February 2012

London Fashion Week: Backstage with T.Lipop AW12

After drinking and chatting with Ross from the t.lipop design team at Fashion East, the lovely lovely man invited us to the show and allowed us to grab some behind the scenes snaps. Lots of men running about in their underwear and having fake snow put in their beard whilst a nerd ran around shouting orders and Tom Lipop himself calmed him nerves with a Crabbies. Who said fashion was all about the glamour?

Many thanks to team lipop!

London Fashion Week: Fashion East Mens AW12

 A few introductory glasses of chamagne and chit chat with various designers, it can only be Fashion East.

William Richard Green
Inspired by the late 80’s football scene and the wayward hooligan culture and how it was later affected by the 90’s rave, William Richard Green’s AW12 collection was a uniform display of simple shapes and unfussy detailing. As always, the fabrics remain native and are sourced purely from British mills, with Green’s signature polka dot featuring both in lining and in print. Undeniably masculine, the shape is strong and robust with a basic monochrome palette injected with blocks of neon orange.

Christopher Shannon
Capturing the essence of youth and casual delinquency, Christopher Shannon had his models perch in a beaten up old bus shelter. The shades were all very neutral; simple black, greys, and whites that all carried a chain motif to symbolize the stereotypical images of street dwellers. High-tops were prominent once again as a street emblem. Classic and cool, Christopher Shannon represents working class adolescence.

LF Markey
Hanging from the branches of trees secured by dirt and autumn leaves, L F Markey  presents her collection of mens shirts and tees, made from only the finest materials. Simple, geometrical and practical, Markey used bold colour combinations to create a playful and perfect ready to wear collection.

Tom Ryling
With a slogan like ‘our house falls down. Slain to pieces on the floor. Pick them up, start again’ plastered across the wall, we were intrigued as to what Tom Ryling would have to offer for AW/12. The answer, fabrics that have the appearance of being broken down and remolded. Holed sweatshirts, firework-effect prints, neutral colours with injections of orange and gold. The designs on show had a feminine flare about them, with rolled up cuffs, sleeveless oversized white t-shirts with metallic print, and mid-drift revealing jumpers. Layering was promoted on all accounts. The tree branches dominating the room represented the body as a bare canvas, the body in winter, and the body as whatever you want it to be.

Kit Neale
Walking through the exhibition, we come to a room in which Elvis Presley’s ‘Hound Dog’ is playing and several models heavily clad in bold prints are singing along and eating crisps. Where are we? We’re at a very relaxed Kit Neale AW12 collection, characterized by a sense of urban realism where multiple layers are key. Abstract and vibrant prints inspired by his own father’s allotment rule in pieces covered in radishes and carrots, the male counterpart to Dolce and Gabbana’s SS12. Print on print is very clearly still on trend this season and even more so in the male department.

With “not quite enough time” to complete the entire four seasons inspired makeup, the models have to make do with snow sprinkled eyebrows and beards to set the scene for his polar collection. Fur tails, lining and hoods-a-plenty, this collection was the most seasonal and practical yet also one of the most imaginative. Collarless shirts and excessive layering in block burgundy, green and geometric print contrasted against bare chests and optimistically summery white rimmed sunglasses to complete the looks. The boots were also pretty badass.

Unusual texture combinations and quality fabrics are the foundation of Becky French’s Marwood brand. In her third season, the AW12 collection combined early 20th century eccentricity with rustic luxury to create a gorgeous array of neckwear in yarn, wool, jewel coloured silks and the new seasonal lace. The Mr Marwood Hare, a collaboration with Alice Mary Lynch, also deserved a special mention for adding the perfect finishing touch to a simple but effective display.

Dr Noki’s NHS                    
As mad as usual, Dr Noki’s NHS never fails to grab attention. A vibrant mish mash of comic heros declaring “Crash Pow!” all appear on this collection of ‘culture jamming street couture’. Superhero graphics and signature Noki-SOB masks are presented with bags of attitude and a somewhat intimidating ‘don’t give a f*ck’ stance.  Despite the aggressive nature,  Noki promotes ethical design through the patchwork effect and reworking of unwanted garments. He’s just a softy really.

Lee Roach
Lee Roach had a room dedicated to a film showing of a kind of ‘real man’s’ catwalk. The models were shot in a kind of ominous warehouse, so although the designs had a feminine quality, the essence of man prevailed. Every sleek design featured a form of black accompaniment, in the form of fitted blazers, wide lace-up boots, handheld bags, or simple belts. All white trousers were worn high, with the overall look being very simplistic. The fabrics ranged from leather to wool with mesh front t-shirts under long heavy coats.

Christopher O'Brien
Standing out from the crowd with a collection based in black, white and aqua, Christopher O'Brien's collection stems from the research and development on new and original materials. Immediately eyecatching O'Brien's surely trademark wrinkled cottons and silks, are juxtaposed against classic shapes and familiar textures. As a whole, the collection is an ultra-modern interpretation on traditional wardrobe staples including the dress shirt and formal trouser. This lovely model even shoved the designer out of the way especially for my picture. Darling.

Paw Hansen
New street style inspired label, Paw Hansen, exhibited classic street-wear, such as the bomber jacket, transformed by luxury fabrics and a modernized shape. The designs are those of ‘old favourites’ made new, and were largely based on classic military, provoking a certain timelessness about them.

Sebastian Tarek
As the only designer showcasing bespoke shoes, Sebastian Tarek definitely stood out from the crowd. Every single pair of shoes was beautifully made. The chalkboard and string tied catalogue of drawings gave a very honest feel to the collection. For a label that gives off the effect of getting back to basics, the shoes still managed to have an edgy, modern quality. The pink crisscross effect lace up brogue-style shoes stood out amongst a selection of classic staples.

Oscar Quiroz
Exhibiting a cozy collection of warm autumnal colours, Oscar Quiroz demonstrated the softer side of menswear. With trademark metal rings woven into the knitted designs, each piece had a signature look about it. Metallic chinos, simple t-shirts and fitted knits made for a classic look. The navy zip up tracksuit hoody represented a collection with genuinely effortless quality behind it.

This was written in conjunction with the lovely Corin Jackson @corinleigh.

C. x

London Fashion Week: The Rodnik Band AW12

Yes. Yes. YES. 

Having been looking forward to this all week, the time finally arrived for me to get a good look at The Rodnik Band AW12 collection. With previous pieces including Mondrian Urinal and Warhol’s Campbell soup can dresses, you can imagine I was just a tad excited at what was next. At first glance, The Rodnik Band could just look like a bit of fun, you know, something for Katy Perry on a Friday night. It’s wacky, out there and really rather comical. However, this season is it also fabulously British, and definitely not one to be written off so easily. 

After sipping on £50 a bottle Tequila and vitamin water, a throw back to my student days,  we set about taking in what was on display. The right hand side of the room was dedicated to the red, white and blue in a teatime display of tea and cake. The models too, dressed in some of the most iconic images of British culture,  stood on individual plinths emblazoned with the Union Jack. If it wasn’t already obvious AW12 has taken a rather regal stance as it delved in the world of the Monarchy.

Starting with a feature film declaring “God help the Queen” with cancan-ing Queen Victorias and British landmarks turned on their heads,  is designer Philip Colbert just taking the piss out of the Royal Family? After  a few false fire alarms and a closer inspection, it quickly becomes apparent that designer Philip Colbert  is actually making a far more serious comment about the boundaries of fashion and creative expression. When we outright asked Philip  if the  label sought to mock the royal family, Colbert simply replied ‘No not at all, it’s all about making everything relevant’. And boy is he right, as Kate and Pippa Middleton lookalikes instantly get the crowd talking. The designs walk a satirical line between art and fashion, and, much like previous collections, play on the idea of wearable icons.However, Colbert also addressed  the inescapability of our national heritage. How we present ourselves is an integral part of our individuality yet so is where we come from. Britain is an inherent part of our history and identity and why should this be ignored?

A red sequin dress was a nod to the classic Beefeater attire, accessorized with an oversized crown transforming the model into a royal caricature. In her hand, a bright red double decker bus bag completely the signature British look. Toned down but just as iconic, a royal mail postbox in a blush pink made the second look paired with a black cab bag and a fried egg purse. Yes, that’s right – a fried egg. A similar inflatable egg was also seen around Colbert’s neck for much of the night.  This collection was practically tailor made for me for as much as I love sequins, I bloody love eggs. 

In it’s own little corner, Violet’s Box, an up and coming vintage fancy dress boutique added to the good British humour of the event kitting out attendees in moustaches, tulle skirts and top hats. Keep your eyes peeled here for a little insight into Violet’s work very soon.


Overall, yet another season of mental window shopping for me. I’m madly in love with the Beefeater dress, that’s for sure. I’m also madly in love with Philip Colbert himself, he was absolutely adorable and exceptionally friendly to everyone he passed.  I also loved his hat. I’ll stop going on about the poor man now...

C. x

London Fashion Week: Gieves and Hawkes AW12

At the end of 5 days dedicated solely to the ladies, the time has finally arrived for boys. Kicking off Mensday Wednesday, I opted to get suited and booted at Savile Row’s Gieves and Hawkes AW12 presentation.

A fresh glass of orange juice upon arrival and one of the most beautifully packaged look books I’ve ever had the pleasure to receive, the presentation was already off to a good start. With many a representative on hand to explain the collection, inspiration is accredited to the 1960’s playful and relationship between colour and print and particularly the work of David Hicks.

Mixing bold colours with geometrical print, notably present in the array of bowties and handkerchiefs, with a more traditional setting paved the way for contemporary and stylish formalwear. Discussing iconic moments such as the Beatles notorious rooftop performance of 1969 whereupon an audience, including former employees, in fact gathered upon the adjoining Grieves and Hawkes roof; the collection is one of the most personal of the week. Barry Tulip plays upon the contrast between classic British menswear from Savile Row and the most bold and rebellious archetypal British band. Drawing upon the past but not becoming consumed by it, classic garments such as beautifully tailored suit jackets are brought into the present day with widened lapels and raised first buttons and teamed with suitably vibrant ties - a nod to the energy and fast paced atmosphere of the swinging 60s. It is explained that these ensembles pay homage to Tommy Nutter who dressed three of the Beatles for their Abbey Road cover.

A stand out piece for me personally has to be the emerald green harris tweed coat, paired with a camel scarf and cashmere blend electric blue waffle crew neck. Formal without appearing stuffy, the look is perfect for those who like to at least think of themselves as a modern day gentleman whilst the autumnal hues are perfect for the season. Spotted elsewhere, I discovered the softest single-breasted camel coat in existence and a dreamy cream donegal v-neck paired with a contrast burnt rose poplin cotton shirt combo.  Traditional and distinctive, Gieves and Hawkes have paid attention to detail to create a luxurious and beautifully made collection. Big thumbs up. Now to find myself a gorgeous male model to show them off....

C. x

London Fashion Week: Christian Blanken AW12

After a very un-fashiony krispy kreme with LFW Editor Faye, we got to flash our press tickets and bypass the queues to take our seats for Christian Blanken. Particular mention must be given to the cheeky photographer with a particularly booming voice declare "Uncross your legs, ladies. This is a fashion show!". The majority, assuming this was a health and safety regulation, immediately obeyed as the photography pit erupted into a fit of stifled giggles. The drama later continued as a model managed to catch her heel in her dress and narrowly avoided face planting the floor. Bravo!

In stark contrast to my previous post featuring Inbar Spector, Christian all about classic and elegant simplicity. Always aiming for items with a loose sportswear theme, these aren’t outfits for the gym. Instead Blanken focuses on creating a look based on sportswear cuts and shapes whilst ensuring items remain sleek, chic and wearable. Once again, the AW12 collection saw Blanken’s signature minimalist style reworked with fur trims, intricate draping, colour blocking and yet more metallics to jazz up straight trousers and simple dresses into the eveningwear category.

Structured slip dresses in pillar box red and tangerine were set against flowing draped black, grey and brown floor length pieces, followed by fur lined ponchos and funnel neck tunics. Statement pieces such as the high shine brown jacket and metallic jumpsuits were an attention grabber whilst other looks focussed on layering and loose satin drapes.  Simple blocks of neutral whites need no frills as the beautiful fit and tailoring stands out without assistance. Sleek, straight hair and smoky eyes again lifted the outfits from day to night.

Understated and elegant, this is by far the most sophisticated and feminine sportswear out there. I wouldn’t ruin it with treadmill sweat if I were you.

On to the next!
C. x

London Fashion Week: Inbar Spector AW12

Wow. I really mean it. Wow.

When some people think of a fashion show, this is how they look in their fantasies, often let down in reality by a designer’s insistence on the dull side of simplicity or wearablity. However, as I took my seat on the front row at Inbar Spector, the wildest side of my imagination was fulfilled by one of the most remarkable and creative shows I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.   Spectators have been  raving for days after the show took place and rightly so as Inbar Spector, a relative unknown, was the name on everybody’s lips. One of this season’s most magnificent Vauxhall Fashion Scout shows thus far, Inbar Spector was a breathtaking collection of  ingenuity and wonder. And to top it all off? Joanna Newsom’s ‘Peach Plum Pear’ helped to soundtrack the event. It was fate that I was there, surely?

 Inspired by a theme of escapism,  her signature style transpired through a myriad of luxurious fabrics, crinolines, sequins and metallics that beautifully reflected off each and every photographer’s flash. The collection focused on the question “Where does skin end and the body start?”, immediately apparent the models losing themselves to their clothing through facial concealment and endless reams of fabric. Fantastical fairytale bodycon items blended with ragile cut away patterns, carefully entwining the model with each piece.
Extravagant pastel toned ruffles, detailed lace and enough sequins that were so bright even I had to shield my eyes all contributed to an alluring and breathtaking displays. Lilacs, mint green, rose pinks, golds and nudes were apparent throughout, leaving the most understated colour of white to create the most stunning of finale looks. A huge wedding-style, ruffle layered  dress, not too unlike a wedding cake in some respects, was paired with an exotic bejewelled mask, all designed by Lara Jensen, to a standing ovation.

Are you likely to be popping to tescos in these pieces? No. Not in the slightest. But the show was everything I could want from London Fashion Week – creative, flamboyant, excessive and experimental and Inbar Spector didn’t let me down.Truly, truly magical.

As always, more to come.
C. x