Category Archives: Fashion

Fam Love Gays…and sailorgirls!

I’ve already grown tired of dressing appropriately for the cold weather, although I’ve still been trotting round in a tweed blazer rather than a full-on winter coat, so taking a peak at Fam Irvoll’s SS10 collection has lifted my fashion spirits (which took a dent after seeing Heidi Montag wearing those sequinned Miu Miu socks early this morning).

Fam is a Norwegian designer who shows at Oslo Fashion Week and has just been taken on by Blow PR, so we’ll be seeing much more of her nutty knitwear over here.

After studying at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode, Fam came to Central St Martins for her BA (Hon) in Fashion Knitwear, graduating in 2008.

Fam’s colourful past collections have featured shrunked dolly dresses, sweaters with 3D ladybirds and ice lollies, ruffled prom dresses and a quirky mouse bustier top – all in eye-popping colours.  My personal diagnosis of Fam’s style would be part Sonia Rykiel crossed with Grayson Perry and My Little Pony – not a bad combo, I might add!

Celeb fans already include Mika and Lady Gaga, who apparently called up Fam and ordered a 3D cherry sweater and a cake headpiece.

But quickly on to Fam’s SS10 collection, I Love Gays, which is dominantly nautical with Hawaiian and 50s rockabilly influences.  It’s very sailor girl meets Dorothy with a bit of Dolly Parton thrown in for good measure.

For summer, Fam has traded in her magenta and purples for more primary colours like banana yellow, pillarbox red and cobalt blue.

The collection features embellished denim, flirty sailor dresses, tutti frutti prints, cherry print skirts, playtime tomboy shorts and a striped jumpsuit with a proud-looking 3D flamingo standing guard.

I absolutely adore the sparkling sailboat headpieces and there are plenty of other accessories to keep your wardrobe entertained, like blue and red bow bobby socks, ruby slippers and berry and floral headbands in the style of Brazilian samba queen Carmen Miranda.  It would really make my day if there was a Fred Butler or Tatty Devine collaboration on the cards – I reckon they could make some mad pieces together.

Fam runs her own club night, Neverland, in Oslo with her equally creative friends and like the name suggests, she gets inspiration from fairytales and east London/Oslo club kids. You can follow Fam’s crazy adventures and adorable outfits on her blog.

Prices start from £40 and you can find stockists by contacting Fam on her website.

From the catwalk to Hackney…

Inspired by Burberry’s new ‘social networking site’, Art of the Trench, I met up with my Italian friend Cristina for breakfast and a long-overdue trip to the Burberry Factory Outlet at Hackney Central (ah, the luxury of Bond Street shopping just five minutes away).

Having heard rumours on the net about Burberry disciples hunting out jackets for a mere £80, we had high expectations and fully intended to emerge dressed like the slightly smug, Sartorialist-snapped hipsters on the site.

The outlet is like a shining fashion beacon, almost temple-like, in the middle of a particularly non-descript part of Hackney. On arrival, we were asked to put all of our world belongings (apart from our purses, conveniently) in the lockers at the entrance. Usually I’d be horrified at the thought of being separated from my keys, phone and other handbag essentials, but it actually lent to more efficient browsing and I knew my possessions would be safe under the watchful eye of the burly security guards and stern Italian lady on the door.

Our hearts leapt when greeted by a large, checked, although slightly hideous bag at the front of the store, which was just £149.  We were ready to scoop up some of the more tasteful pieces, however, the so-called bargain was more of a mirage than a taste of things to come. The bags that you’d actually want to have on your arm, from the runway collections, were priced between £300 and £700, although this was a mighty discount from the original £1000+.

Discounts range from a shy 20% up to a massive 70%.  Cristina found a gorgeous silk and net cocktail dress in either brown or red that was reduced from £1230 to £120!

Burberry tend to go for one style of shoe for the catwalk shows, and low and behold, I spotted the black patent leather heels with ruched straps from the Autumn/Winter 08 show and the olive green lace-ups from the Spring/Summer 09 collection, all gracing the tootsies of models like Agy, Daisy, Irina and Sasha.

My tops picks of the trip included a delicate, iridescent silver mac for £150, some studded/warrior leather gloves for £89 and some incredible black lace-up, calf-lenth boots for just £200. Cristina hunted out a gorgeous silk and net cocktail dress in chocolate brown or berry red that was reduced from £1230 to £120!

There are some more affordable items like perfume gift sets from £29, checked wool scarves from £69 and a selection of purses and jewellery, including the square warrior cuff from last summer.  The great thing about the Burberry outlet is that there are timeless, investment pieces that you buy for a snip of the price and can keep forever.  The prices aren’t exactly cheap, but if you’re in the market for one excellent quality bag or trench, then you can upgrade from high end high street to luxury for just a little bit extra.

The outlet doesn’t offer refunds or exchanges, so make sure you’ve tried on your purchase, that there are no visible production faults and most of all, that you really love it.  It can be quite easy to kid yourself into liking the best of the pile in the name of a bargain! Come armed with Christmas money and scour the clearance rails with a fine tooth comb for the real discounts.

Burberry Factory Outlet, 29-53 Chatham Place, Hackney, London, E9 6LP

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-5pm.

How to get there:  Overground: Hackney Central   Tube: Bethnal Green + 106/254 bus to Hackney Town Hall or 20 minutes walk.

Vivienne Westwood’s manifesto reading

Last night, I went to a reading of Vivienne Westwood’s Active Resistance Against Propaganda, organised by The Last Tuesday Society, at  The Tabernacle in Notting Hill.  The manifesto was read by Viv herself and children’s theatre group, The YoungStars Academy, in front of an audience of fashionistas, activists, artists, students and proud parents.

Vivienne Westwood was as flamboyant as ever in a glorious printed jumpsuit, white statement specs and a headband with BRANDED emblazoned on the front.  She introduced the manifesto to a rapturous applause and the children read their parts aloud.

Two of the older kids played the main characters, Alice and Pinocchio exceptionally well and everyone in the audience squealed when the tiny girl playing the White Rabbit bunny hopped across the stage, wearing tufty white rabbit ears – so sweet!

 vivienne

Vivienne Westwood wrote her manifesto 2 years ago and it has since been performed twice – the second time I peered through the glass of the Design Museum while out and about on the South Bank to see Vivienne reciting it with the help of Peaches Geldof and what looked like Jaime Winstone from a distance. 

Vivienne believes that by immersing ourselves in art and culture, we can find happiness in a soulless age, and that as judges of culture, we should strive to get the art that we deserve.  She had a few stories to tell about modern art ‘bullshitters’ who questioned her sense of appreciation because she didn’t deem their works as relevant or true art.

viv

Another part of her ideology is that art should be universal and if the meaning is obscured or inexplicable for the majority , then it is not really art. I agree that the artist should be able to explain his state of mind and motivation, but art based on complex theories shouldn’t be dumbed down for a quick overview, and sometimes a bit of mystery and open-endedness can be enjoyable.

Vivienne references Aldous Huxley in her manifesto and agreed with his peceived three evils in the world –  nationalistic idolatry, non-stop distraction and organised lying. By taking influence from art and to some degree history, Viv believes that you can make yourself completely immune from propaganda and their detriments.

The reading was really entertaining as well as educational, as Vivienne’s humour, warmth and passion really brought the words to life.  She digressed, dismissed things as quickly as stating them and told amusing stories to stress her points.  Vivienne had the disarmed nature of a family member rather than one of Britain’s biggest fashion icons, although what she was saying was not to be taken lightly.

vivienne 3

There was a bit of time left to answer just three questions and as usual in Q and A sessions, an audience member perplexed both Vivienne and the audience with her overblown terminology and pedantic questioning regarding spiritualism and the ‘earth keepers’ in the Amazon. Saving the rainforest was meant as a post-script to the reading, and I’m still not sure if she was suggesting that Vivienne should go and live with a rainforest tribe or something. The confrontation did make Vivienne more impassioned and urgent though, and she came off-stage to discussed it with her while everyone went downstairs for a complementary Hendricks gin and tonic and some tropical beats from Todd Hart of Dalston Oxfam Shop.

Like the majority of the audience, I left the reading feeling inspired and while there were some aspects that I didn’t necessarily agree with, Vivienne reminded me to pursue knowledge and to try and find what it is that at this point in life will make me truly happy. So, remember what Vivienne says: books are cool, culture is vital and pretentious ‘art’ is bullshit.

To find out more about the AR Against Propaganda Manifesto, visit:  http://www.activeresstance.co.uk

Anthropologie arrives in London

So, I finally got to see the new Anthropologie store on Regent Street and in just a short visit, I managed to compile a pretty extensive Christmas wish list.

I first came across Anthropologie on a trip to New York about six years ago and I remember being in awe of their Snow Queen-style silk dresses and embellished homeware. 

blankets

This is Anthropologie’s first European store out of America, which will be followed by another store on the King’s Road, housed in a former gentlemen’s club.  All of the Anthropologie stores are unique and the three-floor Regent Street branch is pretty spectacular, with a wall tapestry of over 200 sq. metres of living plants, sustained by the rain-water collected on the roof.

green stairs

Inside, it is a wonderland of bobo, Amélie-style patterned dresses, rustic Americana bed linen and velvet embroidered cushions and good, old-fashioned crockery with a modern twist.

Some of the clothes can be a bit on the twee side, but the collections have clearly been picked because of their excellent quality and fine details, like felt patchwork hearts sewn on the inside. 

clothes

It’s great to finally have access to Anthropologie’s designer labels like Leifsdottir and Moulinette Soeurs, as well as New York-based Mise en Scene by Ruffian and Eva Franco and high-end pieces from Sara Berman.  I am currently lusting after a Mise en Scene by Ruffian black velvet cocktail dress with a white silk collar – think Eva Green wearing YSL and smoking a cigarette in The Dreamers, that’s how fabulous it is!

spot dress

Anthropologie’s buyers have scoured the world to source some of the most beautiful things for your home. I recognised some of the stationary that is stocked in Selfridges, but they also have an enormous collection of jewelled, wooden and ceramic drawer handles, hand-painted china cups and saucers and exquisite bold striped and patchwork quilts.

cushions

I had serious envy on their amazingly-styled in-store bedroom and had the store assistant not being restocking the drawers, I would have been tempted to curl up among the cushions.  While I already have a gorgeous handmade patchwork quilt in my room at home, I can’t help feeling that this bedroom would make me into the organised, serene and breezy person I’ve always wanted to be (must make storage notes).

bedroom

The greatest addition to Anthropologie’s Regent Street store would be a cafe (see Avoca, Belfast’s adorable lifestyle store) where you could have afternoon tea, as judging by Style Bubble and disneyrollergirl’s mouthwatering pics from the press day, they have some real cakemaking talents.  If you’re reading, Anthropologie, grab some of those tea pots and cake stands and get a pop-up shop going, we’ll be in there all day!

Anthropologie, 158 Regent Street, London, W1B 5SW

Foale and Tuffin: Made in England retrospective

After showing minimal Swedish style and the evolution of underwear this year, the Fashion and Textile Museum has gone back to its favourite era to honour the influential but somewhat overlooked, Foale and Tuffin.

Sixties design legends Mary Quant, Ossie Clark and Biba are considered the leaders of the swinging London style movement, but those that were lucky enough to be there will remember that Foale and Tuffin was ‘what cool girls wore’.

checked suit

 

Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin played a major part in London’s ‘Youthquake’ and were the label to be seen in by the Mod girls of Carnaby Street and posh bohemians on the King’s Road.  Replicating couture by Paris-based designers like Dior and Balenciaga was the most likely career route for RCA graduates, but Foale and Tuffin wanted to break out and create their own functional but stylish clothes for Britain’s new independent and free-spirited girls.

lace-and-red

 

Foale and Tuffin’s designs have an apparent femininity and innocence, but there is no key formula to their style.  They have gone from creating pop and sports-inspired shift dresses to moody, Bloomsbury-style smocks with wallpaper prints in dark ochre and bottle green.

Wandering round the exhibition, I felt a bit nostalgic for all my handmade childhood clothes, which were obviously inspired by Foale and Tuffin. There were look-a-likes of my beloved purple wool coat with grey corduroy lapels from when I was four years-old and my dark floral smock dresses.  Even the sixties soundtrack being played reminded me of Sunday afternoons spent having fittings and playing with the mannequin in my grandma’s sewing room.

clothes and rails

For the exhibition, they have recreated the Foale and Tuffin boutique, workroom and design studio. You can see their exquisite sketches and illustrations, their sewing table and patterns and images of models like Twiggy wearing their clothes on the covers of Vogue, ELLE and Harper and Queen.

sketch

 Foale and Tuffin’s influence on fashion is still evident today – the resurgence of velvet and lace, Liberty prints, floral dresses and boyfriend jackets can be pinpointed back to their collections.  Psych girl band Ipso Facto, VV Brown and even, dare I say, Peaches Geldof owe their style to Foale and Tuffin.

I love it that Fashion and Textile Museum hasn’t relied on drawing the big name designers to get fashion lovers through the door but has once again offered an alternative education on fashion history beyond the mainstream.  The range of garments and the fine attention to detail make it the must-see exhibition of the season – I can’t recommend it enough!

Foale and Tuffin: Made in England runs from 23 October until February 2010.  Ticket prices are £6.50 for adults, £3.50 for students and concessions, free entry for under 12s.

Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XF

Romeo Pires Spring/Summer 10 @ LFW

Romeo Pires’ Spring/Summer 10 show kicked off with cosmos and mojitos, which is always better than queuing in the rain.  This is design duo Nicholas Humphrey and Sergio Pires’ second collection at LFW and they picked up where they left off last season with their signature art-inspired graphic prints.

Romeo Pires

The collection featured diaphanous silk collared shirt dresses and jumpsuits, beginning with monochrome and graduating into colour-bursting prints. featuring checker flags, apples

The monochrome pieces showed a more feminine, dreamy take on a tuxedo and skeleton prints were also featured. 

Romeo Pires

 The second part of the collection saw graphic colour prints emblazoned with checkerboards, apples, Roy Lichtenstein-inspired tableaux, mystical swirls and geometric blocks.

Romeo Pires 

 The majority of the collection was created using silk and includes sheer blouses, tailored shorts and beautifully draped jumpsuits.  A perfectly wearable and cohesive Spring/Summer collection if ever there was!

 

Steve J and Yoni P Presentation @LFW

Everyone at London Fashion Week seemed to be clutching an invitation to Steve J and Yoni P’s ‘Puppet Theatre’ presentation and even the great Diane Pernet popped in to check out the duo’s new collection. 

Their innovative presentation, held in the Korean Cultural Centre, was inspired by the Eastern European marionette culture (I’ve witnessed it in Prague and it’s terrifying).  The atmospheric ‘puppet theatre’ was full of lifeless but cheekily well-endowed puppets sporting strategically place fruits and solitary pieces hung on rails,  illuminated by light and shadows.

Steve J and Yoni P

As for the new collection, there were ‘let’s go boating’ soft tailored jackets, structured dresses with two-tone lapels and detailing, pretty 50s-inspired underwear as outerwear, screen printed tees and khaki shorts for guys. 

Steve J and Yoni P

The show was set up as a ‘still life’ with models staring ahead and draped over chairs, serenaded by harpist Serafina Steer.  Many of the models had branch markings ‘tattooed’ on their arms and faces and some had their fluffy angel hair and hands tainted with red dye.

You really need to see it to understand, so check out a clip of the Puppet Theatre presentation…

Video by brightonART

Their Autumn/Winter 09 collection is also worth a look – it’s full of cosy tartan smocks, Aztec print cardies and purple day dresses.   Stockists: My Sugarland and supersweet.