Tag Archives: knitwear

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.

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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

A.P.C…easy as YMC

Following the pre-recession trend of investing in simple, classic pieces, London fashion has gone back to basics. Luckily, the leaders of the utilitarian revolution have set up camp in London, just in time to supply us with some natty autumn knitwear.

British label YMC (You Must Create) opened their new loftspace a few days ago in Soho and French fashion house A.P.C (Atelier de Production et de Création) have made themselves at home close to Dover Street Market in Mayfair’s most minimalist neighbourhood.

YMC store front

YMC has been delivering well-made classics with a twist since 1995, but is having a bit of a ‘moment’ right now, with devotees Alexa Chung, The Horrors and Claudia Schiffer championing the label.  Their Spring/Summer 09 collection was awash with twee embroidered knits, sailor girl dresses, patterned playsuits and a multitude of stripes – mixing folk and prairie chic with a good old dose of Northern Soul.  The store is now stocking their Autumn/Winter 09/10 collection, but if birdwatching chic isn’t your thing, then it’s still worth a gander round the shop.

YMC inside

YMC’s loftspace is like an old curiosity shop with victoriana artefacts, retro gym equipment and some creepy taxidermy.  You’ve got to be impressed by a two-headed crow, but I can imagine A.P.C owner Jean Touitou’s gallic lip curling at the sight of such antiquated articles of yore.  

A.P.C’s new London flagship store is a much sleeker affair, and has just been officially launched, despite being already open this summer.  The interior is just as unfussy as A.P.C, with smooth wooden shelving and plenty of natural light.

A.P.C

A.P.C are best known for their innovative denim, but their Autumn/Winter 09 collection is all about checks, bright statement colours and marine-inspired tops – so, not that far away from YMC, then.

While a £100 plaid shirt doesn’t feature highly on my new season wish list, it’s good to know that it’s now a lot easier to find a decent winter coat to go with the H&M coral angora mitten I’ve got my eye on!

A.P.C  35a Dover Street, Mayfair, London

11 Poland Street, Soho, London W1