Say it with a T-SHIRT

WHATEVER your gender or age, the chances are you've probably owned a T-shirt at some point in your life. T-SHIRT - Cult, Culture and Subversion is an exhibition looking at the history of this understated garment and how its used for personal expression.

Looking at a extensive collection of t-shirt designs, the exhibition explores how they are used as a communicative tool covering topics such as protest, propaganda, gender, sexuality, ethics, music, art, fashion and branding. There is a look  into the garments history and the different techniques used to create them, before  thinking about the  future of fashion and how the concept of the t-shirt is evolving.

T-SHIRT: Cult, Culture and Subversion is a thought provoking exhibition that makes you think about how people want to be perceived and how t-shirts can help express that . L


T-SHIRT runs at the Fashion and Textile Museum, London until the 6th May 2018. Check out the website for more information here.

London Fashion Week SS18

SEPTEMBER means one thing for me, London Fashion Week! Returning with a new identity (designed by Pentagram), I was excited to see what LFW's new look represented.

Here's a little of what I got up to over the weekend...

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First up, Jasper Conran's show, which was held in the elegant and dramatic backdrop of the Claridge's Ballroom. The show felt very glamorous and the front row was full of fashion royalty. The collection as a whole had a very retro 60-70's feel - the models strutted the runway in retro mini skirts, flared sleeved kimonos, playsuits and jumpsuits to a 70's inspired soundtrack. Sheer materials and transparancies were a strong theme, the collection experimented with bright colours and layering materials such as vinyls, chiffons, plastics to create a look that was perhaps very suited to the summer British weather - waterproof! 


Next stop was Markus Lupfer who's collection was by far my favourite at LFW. Inspired by Hollywood glamour and long vacations in palm springs - the designs really captured the essence of summer. The creations consisted of swirling fabrics, bright colours, florals and bold patterns with the most intricate sequin and beading detail. All teamed with an array of sandals and sunglasses to die for. All in all, a really fun and feminine collection.


Held in the BFC Show Space, Sadie Williams described her presentation as "Strong modern girls go rambling in a disco meadow". Drawing inspiration from the Kindred of Kibbo Kift, the collection had a tribal and ceremonial feel with beautiful hand printed fabrics. The centre piece to the presentation was a huge tent which the models rotated around to a mixed soundtrack. The designs were still very feminine despite the strong tribal theme. I really liked the colour palette of her collection.


My very last stop of LFW was the Aspinal of London presentation. For their presentation they had converted Claridge's ballroom into the Orient Express showcasing their new collection, part of which was inspired by the upcoming film Murder on the Orient Express. The centre piece was a huge train front and platform in which models showcased their latest handbags. Guests were even treated to an Aspinal of London cream tea on a train carriage and walked away with a goodie bag containing a personalised limited edition passport holder from the collection - thanks Aspinal of London! L


For more information on London Fashion Week or any of the designers above, you can visit the London Fashion Week website here.

London Fashion Week Mens SS18

JUNE 17 marked the 5th anniversary of London Fashion Week Men's, with events taking place all over Central London. From the shows to the collections themselves, this years effort was at an all time high and I came away not only inspired but excited for the future of Mens Fashion Week.

Collection Presentations Highlights
The previews for SS18 were really imaginative, at every presentation I found myself transported into a completely different scene that told a story about the designer or the collection. 

Barbour International turned Soho's Vinyl Factory into a high fashion take of a workshop, reflecting their rich motorcycling heritage. We were taken from the brands beginning in 1936 through to present day ending with the 2018 collection. There was a motorbike workshop where custom motorcycles were being built plus plenty of models showcasing their SS18 collection. Attendees were treated to a Barbour International t-shirt with a number representing a milestone in the brands history, my number '64' representing the year Steve McQueen wore the A7 International Jacket in the 1964 ISDT.

SS18 Collection Nigel Cabowin

SS18 Collection Nigel Cabowin

Held in The VaultsHarrys of London presentation transported the us from the cityscape of London to a magical forest via private jet - yes really take a look at my photos above. Showcasing their huge collection of shoes and luggage the collection came in a wide array of pastel colours and florals matching the detail of the forest scene at the presentation. This was by far the most creative and elaborate preview I've seen at LFWM and I was blown away by the attention to detail.

Not all the previews were so elaborate, Nigel Cabowin had a traditional style presentation but gave it an urban twist using the street outside to create a flash mob catwalk that really complemented the feel of the collection. Press and tourists flocked around taking pictures and it really created a buzz of excitement and glamour to the streets of London.

Favourite Catwalk Show
Making the most of the surprisingly sunny British summer, John Smedly held their show outdoors just off Piccadilly Circus. Precision/Fluidity was the name and it really reflected the collection with its flowing fabrics, organic patterns and fish prints. The invite featured the main pattern from the collection in a foiled effect and even had little plastic fish (matching the clothing print) that fell out when you opened it. Having a show outside was perhaps a little risky weatherise but the risk paid off and the result was was stunning.

Overall Thoughts...
I found the men's collections a lot more playful this season experimenting with colour, patterns and using more feminine elements. The last time I went to London Fashion Week Men's the events were predominately held at 180 Strand (LFW's home). Now spread all over the West End, I feel this allowed designers to better set the scene in a more creative and expressive way. The amount of thought that went into every detail from the invites to promotional items is incredible. Of course another bonus of being at different venues was we got to enjoy a bit of the good weather and had great fun walking around some of Central London's most famous landmarks, even in high heels! I'm looking forward to London Fashion Week in September already! L

Visit the London Fashion Week Men's website here to find out more about the designers and see their collections in full.

 

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion

WHEN you hear the name Cristóbal Balanciaga, most people can picture one of his modern, graphic shaped couture dresses. Known as the master of shape, the Spanish designer was famous for his exaggerated silhouettes, modern simplistic patterns and clever tailoring. Designers have been inspired by his work for many years with his designs still being classed as modern now, 45 years after his death.

 “His work is still so modern” Nicolas Ghesquiére

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at the V&A is a chance to see some of his original houte couture upclose. From his cutting patterns to his fitting techniques, it's a fascinating insight to the man behind the garment and some of his most iconic fashion designs. Upstairs in the exhibition there's a chance to see first hand how Balanciaga has inspired some of the most successful designers of today including the likes of Paco Rabane, Oscar de la Renta, Nicolas Ghesquiére, Hulbert De Givenchy, Issey Miyake and Gareth Pugh to name a few. Divided into sections to represent each of his particular design traits, it really gives you an idea of how he has contributed to shaping the future of fashion.

“He laid the foudations of modernity… entirely” Emanuel Ungara

Balanciaga was clearly a very influential designer and the impact he had on the fashion world has been phenomenal. I love how so many great designers have been inspired by his work. Not only have I gained a better understanding of his design style, technical abilities and creative process, I now find myself recognising particular Balenciaga design characteristics in todays fashion that he may of inspired. L

Left: Balanciaga dress, Right: Sybilla dress inspired by Balanciaga

Left: Balanciaga dress, Right: Sybilla dress inspired by Balanciaga

Balanciaga: Shaping Fashion is on at the V&A until February next year. For further information and tickets visit the V&A website.  

Julien MacDonald - LFW AW17 Show

HIGHLIGHT of London Fashion Week for me was Julien MacDonald's show. Held at the beautiful Goldsmith's Hall in St Paul's, the show had a grand and regal setting. Guests were handed cocktails and handmade luxury chocolates on arrival, all adding to the luxury romantic ambience.

Julien's AW17 collection showed party wear at its best and featured his signature sequins, embellishments and cut out details. The dresses glistened and sparkled under the grand chandeliers of Goldsmith's Hall and looked breathtaking. The show was closed by Winnie Harlow in a cut-out sparkly black number.

Celebrities in the FROW included Amber Le Bon, Ella Eyre, Dougie Poynter, Lisa Snowdon and Rosie Fortescue (all of whom you can spot in my videos below) L

The full collection can be viewed here.  

London Fashion Week AW17 Highlights

Marta Jakubowski's collection featured bright colours.

Marta Jakubowski's collection featured bright colours.

DAKS collection was a mix of masculine and feminine designs

DAKS collection was a mix of masculine and feminine designs

Roberta Einer's retro collection.

Roberta Einer's retro collection.

"It's very black & white", PPQ

"It's very black & white", PPQ

FRIDAY was the 1st day of London Fashion Week AW17 and what an amazing day it was. Finally, London started to feel like Spring, the sun came out and it was a perfect day for running show to show around the city… even in stiletto heels!

Here’s some of what I got up to…

Marta Jakubowski Presentation
Held at the BFC Show Space at 180 Strand the Marta Jackubowski presentation was my 1st stop of the day. The colourful presentation showed off a rainbow of designs in an array of bold yellows, reds, oranges and purples. Outfits were colour blocked but used different textures and materials to break up the designs. Ties, padded shapes and angular cuts created a structure to the clothing giving the collection an edgy feel. The make-up was playful with a kind of water colour effect on the eyes.

DAKS Show
Amongst the grandeur and chandeliers of The Langham, the show was opened by a saxophonist setting the sophisticated and elegant mood. The clothing designs seemed to have two main themes. The 1st creating a soft androgynous feel with fine tailored suits, coats and dresses made from hounds-tooth, pinstriped and grey checked fabrics. Other designs took a more feminine feel featuring dusky pink floral prints and glittering metallic created from chiffons and other flowing materials. The designs from the two styles worked well, complementing each other creating a collection that felt both masculine and feminine.
Check out my video clip from the show at the bottom of the page.

Roberta Einer Presentation
Held at the Saw Swee Hock Centre, this presentation had one of the most creative set ups of the day. As you walked down the main staircase you were greeted with a scene of a late summer garden. The models were posed reading on deck chairs or engaging in garden games which really set the mood. The designs had a retro 40’s glamour feel with giant sequins, sparkling crystals and glittering embroidered detail. The feminine collection really shined, I think it’s safe to say I would be ecstatic with anything from this gorgeous collection.

PPQ Show
“It’s very black and white” stated the invite, and that it certainly was. Held at the The Crypt on the Green, PPQ showcased their sophisticated monochrome collection. The designs really played with different textures featuring velvet and satin, furs and wool. Bold black and white stripes featured a lot and I felt it had a really strong identity. In fact I think PPQ may have been my favourite collection of the day. The crowd were given great (if not rather cheeky) goody bags to take away and show attracted a few special guests such as Lisa Snowdon and Dougie Pointer (who we sat right behind).
Finale video at the bottom of the page.

Last Stop of the day…
After all that running around we finally stopped for a well-earned slice of pizza (and cocktail) at the Serpentine Gallery for the British Fashion Council x River Islands Fashion Film screening. The short film was a playful, fun and cute short film and the party after was a great way to end the day.

Final thoughts…
All the collections I saw over the day were really creative and I am not just talking about the clothing. From the venue, to the models, to the music, every single detail had been carefully chosen to complement the designs and deliver the overall brand message. It’s incredible the amount of work that was put into the productions and how flawlessly executed it all was. London Fashion Week is certainly a great celebration of the creativity and diversity London fashion has to offer.

Of course my LFW antics did not end there… more to come soon! L

To find out more about London Fashion Week or the any of the designers featured, click here. All photos/videos in this post are my own. 

A great ending to the day at the BFC Fashion Film Screening at the Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park

A great ending to the day at the BFC Fashion Film Screening at the Serpentine Gallery, Hyde Park

 

 

The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined

"Showing off" Period Dress  Image Source:   
  
 
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  londonist.com

"Showing off" Period Dress
Image Source: londonist.com

FASHION is all a 'matter of taste' but where's the line between good and bad? The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined is an exhibition that explores that idea. Showcasing works from some of the most iconic fashion designers in the world, the exhibition looks at how the boundaries and limits of taste are pushed to create ground breaking designs.

The exhibition is split up into sections each exploring different themes that could be applied to the term 'Vulgar'. Here's a few ideas that got me thinking;

LEFT: "Exposed Bodies" Designs by Vivienne Westwood and Rudi Gernreich  Image source:   
  
 
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  www.smudgetikka.com RIGHT: "Classic Copies" Yves Saint Laurent dresses inspired by Mondrian Image source:   
  
 
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LEFT: "Exposed Bodies" Designs by Vivienne Westwood and Rudi Gernreich
Image source: www.smudgetikka.com
RIGHT: "Classic Copies" Yves Saint Laurent dresses inspired by Mondrian
Image source: www.michaelbarnaartvanbergen.com

Showing off
Too big, too much, too extravagant, these were all themes explored. The collection included period dresses which were padded to extremes and flamboyant outfits from designers such as Christian Lacroix and Alexandra McQueen.

Exposed Bodies
Showing too much can be considered 'Vulgar'. The fashion on display in this area pushed the boundaries of nudity and the naked body.

"Common" Food packaging dresses by Jeremy Scott for Moschino  Image Credit: Moschino

"Common" Food packaging dresses by Jeremy Scott for Moschino
Image Credit: Moschino

Classic Copies
Exploring the idea of plagiarism, this area included designs heavily influenced by other creatives work and 'Catwalk Copies' from high street shops.

Common
If something is widely available then it could be classed as 'common' or 'Vulgar'. Looking at designers such as Jeremy Scott, who turn 'common' items, such as food packaging into couture designs.

In Summary...
Overall I though the collection was cleverly put together and explored some really interesting ideas. It's a playful exhibition and some of the outfits on display are surprisingly shocking. From a design point of view it's great. Pushing boundaries is a fun idea for a designer and 'Taste" is a very subjective topic, after all good design is a matter of taste! L

The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined has now finished showing at the Barbican, London but will tour will tour to Winterpalais, Vienna from 3 March to 25 June 2017. If you would like to find out more then click here. 

London Fashion Week Men's AW17

LAST month I was lucky enough to be invited along to London Men’s Fashion Week. It was the first time I'd attended the event and I thoroughly enjoyed the buzzing atmosphere and creative environment.
   The event itself is made up of a series of shows and presentations all over central London, with its main home being 180 Strand.
   The invite only event is a chance for fashion designers to present their new lines to industry experts and fashionistas from all over the world. Everyone had dressed for the occasion and style inspiration was everywhere I looked and I even spotted a few celebs amongst the crowds.

Here's a couple of my highlights:

My footage of the KTZ show finale

KTZ
Trendy contemporary London based brand KTZ designs ready to wear clothing with a couture twist. The show had a urban vibe, edgy sound track and a cool crowd wearing some of the most daring and eye catching outfits I spotted at Men's Fashion Week.
   Monochrome, corset detailing, different textures, layering, are themes that featured heavily throughout the collection which really created an overall style for the collection. Every outfit had movement through some detail on the clothing and the attention to every little detail was something I really admired about this show.

Video I took at the Sibling show finale

Sibling
Completely different to KTZ, Siblings show had a Spanish theme as the collection was heavily inspired by Barcelona’s Park Güell and architect Antoni Gaudi’s ‘trencidis’ technique.
  Terracotta, reds and blue featured throughout the collection, as did angular shapes inspired by the shapes of tiles in Gaudi's designs.
   Sibling had applied those influences to the brands “typically British” style to create the collection.

 

What I learned from Men's Fashion Week
As a designer I think its important to take inspiration from all different areas of design. Sibling has has reminded me to look at other art forms to pull inspiration from, whether it be architecture, fashion or fine art.
    As for KTZ, after watching their show I feel I have a better understanding of their brand and could easily recognise one of their pieces. As a designer I want to work on developing my own style and brand that's recognisable and shows my individuality as a creative.
   The final thing I learnt from Fashion Week is regarding the dress code... the bolder, braver, brighter, the more outrageous, THE BETTER - I can't wait to put together my outfits for next year!  L

If you want to find out more about London Fashion Week Men's visit the website here.

Left: KTZ Collection. Image Credit: @JAB for KTZ Right: Sibling Collection. Image Credit: SIBLING

Left: KTZ Collection. Image Credit: @JAB for KTZ
Right: Sibling Collection. Image Credit: SIBLING

CHANEL Mademoiselle Privé

My favourite part of the exhibition was the vitual tour through Coco Chanel's French couture house.

My favourite part of the exhibition was the vitual tour through Coco Chanel's French couture house.

ANYONE who knows me knows I love fashion. So last year when I heard about the CHANEL Mademoiselle Privé exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea I had to go and visit.

Coco Chanel was a strong, influential woman. Some of her signature designs included tailoring, the 'little black dress' and the iconic quilted handbags. Today Chanel's designs are lead by creative director Karl Lagerfeld. Chanel represents luxury, elegance and celebration of the female form.

On entering the exhibition visitors were encouraged to download the exhibitions app using the galleries wifi. Visitors were lead through a virtual tour of Chanel's couture house where beautiful illustrations were brought to life through the app. I think what struck me most about this digital approach to an exhibition is that it showed how the brand is really thinking of how it can move its traditional image into the digital age.

The CHANEL No5 room

The CHANEL No5 room

The rest of the exhibition was a real multi-dimensional experience. There was a room set up like the atelier where visitors could walk through a maze of fabrics draped from the ceiling, touching the different textures whilst gaining a sense of the artisan work room environment. Another room was set up as futuristic fragrance lab, where visitors could discover the individual scents that make up the brands signature fragrance Chanel No5. An indoor garden based on the gardens at Coco Chanel's home took up a double story space filling the room with beautiful geometric designs (and a lovely aroma).

Upstairs there was a room filled with beautiful couture dresses lit from inside so you really could appreciate the detailing of each garment. An area of the exhibition was dedicated to the famous Chanel costume jewellery and diamond room where you could see the jewellery that many stars have modelled on the red carpet.

In one room there was a short film which showed a sketch between Karl Lagerfeld and Coco Chanel (portrayed by an actress). The story behind it was that the ghost of Coco was looking at what Karl had done since he'd taken over, with him explaining some of his designs. It was done in a very humorous way but it did underline the message of how his vision has been built on Chanel's original designs and values.

Overall I was really surprised by the exhibition, I went there with no great expectations other than to admire some of Chanel's couture garments up close. However, I went away with a real feel for Chanel's heritage and the direction they're moving in. It was nice to see such an iconic brand move away from the traditional exhibition and try something more digital and interactive to capture the creativity of the subject .

For now the free tote might be closest I'll get to owning a Chanel handbag but I've come away really thinking about how the fashion industry is moving forward and embracing modern technology. Moving digital doesn't mean loosing the traditional values of a brand, in fact it can really enhance the overall message. L

Peaceful indoor geometric garden, with real scented hedges... It smelt amazing!

Peaceful indoor geometric garden, with real scented hedges... It smelt amazing!

Diamonds

Diamonds

Fashion passes, style remains.
— Coco Chanel

Some of my favourite couture dresses from the exhibition. The dresses were lit internally which showed the tiniest detailing.