Thursday, 19 July 2012

LCF graduate show.

Waiting for the live streaming of London College of Fashion's BA catwalk show, the sound of Jamaican drumming echoed around the mirrored room; at one point a similar melody to the 'Bear's Necessities' (as featured in The Jungle Book) sounded through the space. Held at Hackney House which is going to be one of the media centres for the Olympics later this year - as announced by Frances Corner, Head of LCF, at the end of the show. There was an electric atmosphere as guests continued to be seated; the models were glacially walking in and out of floor length mirrors whilst lights remained low, creating a mystic sense of anxiety.

The show starts: flashing lights bounce off the mirrors, rock-electrica riffs fill the air and the first model emerges...


Menswear: Rory Parnell Mooney
Womenswear: Loko Yu 
Jewellery: Claire Pugh

Both collections by Mooney and Yu took on a Gothic front with oversize black nose rings and metallic black body paint used to create the illusion of clothing: t-shirt in menswear and high socks in womenswear. Rucksacks, draped jackets and layering reigned supreme in Rory Parnell Mooney's men's collection with black puff jackets, oversized knit scarves and fur panels also making an appearance.

Whilst Loko Yu lead her womenswear collection with exaggerated shoulders, barely-there shorts and heavy jackets. She juxtaposed contrasting shapes by teaming together strong shouldered black jackets with protrusions on the sleeves and simple shorts which exposed the lean legs of the street cast models; along with the heavy boots and black lipstick a hint of gothic androgyny is embodied within this striking collection that in many ways subverts the expectations of a women's collection.

Androgyny could be found within Mooney's collection in almost an opposing way to that of Yu: he experimented with layering using different textures and softer shapes whereas womenswear was tougher and more aggressive. By layering soft draped skirts and wide leg trousers with tougher leathers, inviting furs and warming knitted accessories, Rooney created an innovative menswear collection for the modern man who isn't afraid to show off his dark side. 






Womenswear: Isabell Yalda Hellysaz


With a touch of masculinity, mixed with the feminine softness of a white palette and an experimental use of textures and shapes, Hellysaz created a womenswear collection that challenged the conformity of women's tailoring by concentrating on fabrics, techniques and detailing.

Heavy knitwear, crafted shirts and the layering of fabrics took a leading role in the collection: tasseled skirts covered tailored cigarette trousers, whilst pointed shouldered sleeveless jackets were layered over cropped knits and shirts. Accessories were kept minimal with the addition of thick white wrapped belts and clear plastic visors with white edging - giving each look a marine like feel. Draped fabric covered each of the models head along with the masking of the face allowed the femininity of the collection to continue to be distorted; allowing Hellysaz to be creative with her tailoring. White patent panels, bobbled knits and slit trousers expressed the graduates craftsmanship, whilst the tasseled arms and legs  added a hint of feminine elegance to the collection.

The collection appeared to be a contradiction in itself: simple yet busy, masculine yet with feminine touches, tailored yet in shapes that subvert expectations. The looks that the were donned in the mirrored space of Hackney House may not be as ensembles day-to-today wearable, but the separates pieces make created the collection are staples which could add a touch of edgy tailoring to any wardrobe.





Menswear: John Alexander Skelton 

Skelton stated that he wanted to evaluate the social problems that are embodied within the 'chav' caricature by "embody[ing] the scally/chav style in a more refined and revered for my AW/12 collection". The burglar style beanie hats and oversize backpacks connoted the 'chav' stimulus whilst the tailored 80s inspired ankle grazer trousers, and crafted coats with sharp silhouettes reflected the fashion context of his aim. Hues of royal blue, tangerine and navy excited a simple palette of black and white creating a colour block effect which adhered to the conventions of a 'chav's' tracksuit uniform.

Overall the collection was tailored, structured and- with the layering of different fabrics, garments and colours-playful. The 80s 'skinhead' connotations of the collection reflected the modern 'chav' of today whilst revealing its fashion context and history; with this mature and almost political approach to fashion-along with his clean lines and strong distinct silhouettes-it proves that Skelton is one to watch 
in the future.




Surface Textiles: Stephanie Ghoussain

Ghoussain boasts impressive skills in digital printed textiles and CAD/CAM embroidery techniques; also with internships at Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane under her belt this young designer's future aspects look promising. Ghoussain's collection focuses on womenswear; by using distinct patterns and prints her cocoon shaped tunics took on a playful form that reflected her stimulus of stereotypical middle eastern identities in the western media.

The collection possessed a free aesthetic with fluid lines and curved oversize silhouettes, which were excited with shades of turquoise, duck egg and sky blue, tangerine and summer yellow. Accessories were minimal with a squared or rounded hat-of matching print to the look-fitted on top of the models unruly hair. The surface designs took on a 3D effect with Ghoussain's drawing and redrawing from photographic manipulations being integral to her design process. The collection definitely boasted an artistic flair through the collage of geometric prints; whilst the middle eastern inspiration conveyed the context behind the designs. 





images from each student's showtime LCF profile.





Saturday, 2 June 2012

Harriet Jones...


A mixture of sugar and spice, sun and showers, “gravel and honey”: Harriet Jones, the singer/songwriter whose sound is a fusion of soulful woes, honest lyrics and hypnotising passion.


    Dom Moore photography.


Harriet may be young, but there is no underestimating the talent and ingenuity of this endearing musician’s ability – and no doubt promising future. The music of Jones is a pure delight; with infectious vocals and dreamy riffs that transport listeners to a world full of weeping willow trees, beckoning sandy shores and soft whistling winds. There is a haunting sense about Jones’ sound: it stays with you, making this up and coming musician impossible to forget. It takes one listen to realise that her music is candid and distinct, whilst being compelling in a ‘hair standing up on the back of your neck’ kind of way; albeit Harriet perceives her sound as not being definitively categorised. “An old man who saw me play once said I have a voice of ‘gravel and honey’ and it kind of stuck. It could be folk, it could be blues, but everybody knows I’m not a pop singer”.

This year has already proved to be a year full of anticipation for Harriet Jones after playing a multitude of live gigs in London and her hometown, Plymouth. What does the rest of the 2012 hold? “Even more gigs I think! This summer I’m playing a few places: Volksfest [in Plymouth] with Hard Fi, Knee Deep Festival [in Cornwall] with Willy Mason and The Road To Nowhere Festival [in Somerset], which looks cool”. As well as Hard Fi and Willy Mason, powerful vocalist Lianne La Havas – an artist whose success has spiralled over the past few months, and not to mention she has hung out with Prince! - has also noticed the talent of Harriet Jones. “She hung out with Prince? Jesus man, I’ve never hung out with anybody. She is wonderful though, isn’t she?” (Well, who could disagree?) “I went to a gig that she was playing at and a friend managed to get a demo cd of mine to her in the – let’s say – most unorthodox of ways and she sent me a little message telling me I had a beautiful voice, which is very cool”. With Lianne La Havas already having written a song with Willy Mason and Harriet playing with him this summer, the future certainly appears to be promising for this rising singer/songwriter.

Song writing is an integral part to any musician’s creations, and Harriet is no exception. As an artist who has not yet performed a cover song it would seem that it is not just the riffs and melody that express her music’s spirit, but the writing of the song itself. “People say as if I’m anti covers. I never said playing cover songs was bad; I just thought playing your own songs was better. You can feel like you took some kind of good out of a situation if you get a song from it. You may not have had control of the situation but you have control of how you saw things. Most of the time it is pretty much storytelling, rather than, you know, a message or whatever.”

When you listen closely to the words behind any harmony, you gain a deeper acknowledgment and understanding of the journey and process behind the song. Harriet Jones exposes a narrative within the verses of her enchanting melodies: “‘Wounds’, it’s sort of embarrassingly honest”. For all of the non-singer/songwriters out there the process of writing words to fit a melody, to fit a meaning and to perhaps tell a story all within a few short verses seems baffling. So for all of those who are wondering, what does it take to write a piece of lyrical genius: is it in a dedicated notebook, in a tranquil space or scribbled down on the corner of a napkin on a quick coffee break? Harriet Jones shares her secrets. “I don’t have a notebook, I’ve just accepted how unorganised I am with that stuff. I write wherever. Usually two or more a day; not even as a conscious routine, just as something that sort of happened. Some songs have been too long really, a few pages maybe five and I’ve cut them down. The better ones only ever take five minutes. The good ones – the recorded ones – they make it through the typewriter: ‘Final Drafts’”. 


Harriet Jones- In The Basement.


For those reading who now wish to treat their ears to the melodious stories of Harriet Jones her music can be sourced on Soundcloud and youtube by typing in ‘harrietjonesmusic’ or “loiter around North Hill [Plymouth] or my gigs, you will probably hear it”. Soon, though, you may be able to pick up an echo of Jones’ sound on a street in Camden as the talented singer/songwriter shares that she is planning to move to London – “the big city!” - later on this year. The capital is known as a creative hub, generating new and refreshing talent daily; people from all over the world admire London for its varied eclectic mix of inspiring individuals with genuine talent. So, it makes sense for a musically gifted Harriet to live in The Big Smoke; but she hasn’t always been blessed with the contacts and opportunities that appear to be a given in the capital. From the distant city of Plymouth, Harriet has battled with the limitations that come with living in a place which many consider to be a tranquil weekend escape. “I was adamant that if you knew enough, played well enough, it didn’t matter who you didn’t know, as they’d find you. But, the clichéd saying has turned out to be truer than I thought. I didn’t really know anyone, but I wrote to a lot of people, I still do. I get kind of nervous but at the end of the day they say no, you can walk away and never see them again”.

As a young artist starting out the in the challenging and competitive world of music Harriet has reached that stepping stone that many amateur musicians aspire to. It hasn’t been easy: she has been knocked back but has managed to brush it off, battle the limitations in order to reach her goals and continue to push forward on her journey. “It’s probably like driving a car; keep focusing on your rusted wing mirror or some driver behind you and you’ll probably crash or take the wrong road. I always tend to take things personally, but it probably makes you play better in the end”. The road is the most important element of any journey, as long you keep focused and moving forward your destination will be reached – Harriet Jones is proof of this.

Harriet says she has not yet had a defining moment in her musical career so far, although I am sure that it will be found one day. Her musical gift is undeniable and with influences such as “Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, Elvis, Crosby Stills, Nash & Young, the usual” it is obvious her ambitions are high. Who knows what the future holds, but for Harriet it is definitely going to be bright. When asked where she sees herself in 2020 she replies confidently, “Settled, finally content with the way things have gone; still writing songs, but different songs. Maybe I’d have finally written a song where I have found the ‘right’ words; simple and they say all I have been trying to say since 2011”.

As someone who wasn’t sure she could choose the path of music, Harriet Jones has certainly come very far, and things are about to get a lot bigger for this talented musician. So whether it is in London, Plymouth or at various festivals listen out for her husky harmonies and wearyourself promises, you will not be disappointed…





Just to be nosy.

What's you favourite place on earth - your sanctuary?
Harriet: My garden, the beach or when I'm sleeping. That's pretty nice. Or stone circle.

If you could pick one song to sum up your life or you as a person, what would it be and why?
Harriet: I was gonna say 'Like A Rolling Stone' [Bob Dylan], but I'm sure few others would agree. You'd have to ask one of my friends this question; or one of my 'enemies'...

If you were to duet with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?
H: I am gonna sound real obsessed with Bob Dylan by the end of this interview, aren't I?

Of all the songs you have written so far, which holds the most sentimental significance/is closest to your heart and why?
H: I'm not sure. It's hard after you release them because you get a feeling for what people enjoy more, then kid yourself that's your favourite too. Maybe 'Wounds', it's sort of embarrassingly honest. It's gonna sound real stupid but the chorus, it's written exactly how I sort of say things - you know? 'In The Basement' is kind of nice too though. It's the first song I ever went up and played in front of anybody.

What song can you not stop listening to at the moment?
H: Gorillaz - Melancholy Hill.

What is your festival highlight, to date?
H: Maybe seeing Gorillaz at Glastonbury in 2010 with Lou Reed - that was cosmic. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Pulp at Reading 2011 were pretty good though. I always like some of the people you meet too; you don't have a bloody clue who they are or of their place in the world but they are the happiest people alive. I think that's beautiful. 

You're going to Outer Space, what five things do you take with you?
H: Outer Space?! An oxygen tank, five of them.

Talented...and pragmatic! 










...

OK, I'M BACK.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

UCA WRITNG PIECE


For my UCA interview I was asked to write a journalistic piece in response to the question mentioned below. My life is extremely hectic nowadays, therefore I am unfortunately behind 
with regards to blogging. But, never fear I am slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things...

“On a desert island, the pigeon post will bring only one publication each month. Which one would you choose and why?”- Creativity, stylistic flair, written language competence, industry awareness.
           
            I imagine the warm, friendly sand dancing over my feet, the heat of the sun radiating down; it’s a comforting warmth one I long for in a world of isolation and solitude. I stare at the vast ocean before me, a glistening pool of enticing beauty (not to mention a refreshing necessity when the blistering temperature becomes too much to bear), there is no knowing how many millions of miles exist between me and Western Civilisation- an infinite perpetual motion. Then I notice, gliding through the sky, a small glimmer of hope - I rub my eyes, a hallucination? Finally I make out the flapping of wings and sigh, exhaling all the sadness and loneliness that has built up over time- my delivery has arrived, my editorial ecstasy.
            Harper’s Bazaar, a magazine which personally embodies not only style but substance. Harper’s is not just a magazine but a symbol of history and change; having been reinvented throughout its existence, Harper’s delivers knowledge and experience. From the UK magazine’s establishment in 1929- where it documented the lives of aristocrats and British ‘socialites’- to 1970 where the magazine merged with rival UK publication, Queen, to create Harpers & Queen- upholding it’s high society image. Today it is Harper’s Bazaar, a glossy fashion magazine- whose reputation is highly regarded- since 2006 due to Lucy Yeomans’ consistent encouragement and powerful persuasion.
                Personally, the magazine is one that tells a story within every page; littered with history and hope, from the intimate interviews with the most prestigious creative minds of fashion (a feature on Helmut Newton, September 2011 issue) to discussions of the arts, music and politics. Harper’s Bazaar provides escapism through its diverse content, overflowing with exotic language enabling you to disappear within the page; through its aspirational images of fashion’s most fortunate, exquisite clothing that demonstrates such talent and passion. The magazine’s adaptation and change throughout history allows it to balance the aspirational and the inspirational through its gritty language and dazzling images- it truly expresses the connection between creators and creations.
            On a desert island, I would want a magazine delivered that enticed and gripped me, a magazine never disappointed, that occupied my mind with language and thoughts. Harper’s Bazaar epitomises these attributes which is why I cannot imagine having any other magazine in the clutches of a pigeon, flying towards me in the heat haze to provide me with eloquent escapism. 

MP.

Friday, 17 February 2012

LFW: day 1

Corrie Nielsen

The winner of Fashion Fringe 2010 created a range of Scottish influenced designs for her AW 2012-13 collection. An array of tartan, chiffon, ruffles and exaggerated silhouettes took to the runway. Throughout the show a Scottish-themed music played with an ominous male voice echoing over the top; perhaps to coincide with the almost Scottish- widow-esque pieces which in all black, with serious ruffles and dramatic draping brought a sense of attitude to the runway. An attitude which was embodied by the models: hand on hips with a rebellious strut. Tartan reigned supreme in the form of pencil skirts, wide leg black and white trousers, swollen shouldered, structured jackets, ruffled front shirts, an emphasised ballroom-like skirt and not to mention tartan print on the faces of the models themselves. 

Underneath all the drama and attitude, there was an undertone of ladylike quaintness; with sheer nude spotted gloves, tumbling pearls, draped bows and knee length black dresses. Watching the show: an element of fairytale extravagance filtered through from the feathered, architectural headpieces and dresses that had a Queen of Hearts resemblance with high neck swollen ruffles and protuberances: suggesting perhaps aesthetics of Victorian-dress.

With all these elements combined: Corrie Nielsen's collection was one of Scottish brilliance, mysterious darkness, costume-esque extravagance with hint of rebellion. Great beginning for LFW and, of course, another beautifully talented collection for Nielsen. 

Pictures up asap...
MP.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Tommy Ton- Street Style

These images have been sourced from style.com. The photographer is Tommy Ton; they were taken during the fashion shows of couture and of menswear. Personally these images are a breath of fresh air- regarding street style- and embody a naturalness. It is as if the person within the image is not aware of it being taken- perhaps this is true- and this gives each photograph character and substance. The images are busy and exciting; they convey the scene you would expect of a fashion show: hectic fashion moguls rushing around on the phone with cameras, notebooks and folders. But they still manage to look effortlessly chic with panache.

Be prepared. There's quite a few.

















Hope these inspired you as much as they did me.

MP.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Couture, couture, I love couture


Couture is spectacular. Whether you are one of those lucky few who can afford to purchase one of these extravagant pieces or not is irrelevant. To  me couture is a performance of the flamboyant and theatrical. There is such craftsmanship, expertise and quality embodied within couture collections that the pieces become almost art instead of clothing. 

Alexis Mabille proved that colour, yes, isn't for the faint hearted but can be as dramatic and elegant as any LBD. His SS12 collection was intelligent through the use of elegant shapes, strong lines and juxtaposing fabrics. There was an element of fairytale to his collection with enormous flower head pieces and coloured faces- personally I was reminded of the eccentricity within Alice and Wonderland. But that's what couture is, a fairytale. Couture evokes emotion and creates a sense of wonder and awe which perhaps can't be found in ready-to-wear.

No matter what anyone says; couture is an embodiment of pure talent and beauty- extravagant beauty.

MP.


UCA

Apologies for not blogging in a while, it has been a very busy month for me- as expected- and it doesn't look like the next is going to be any more relaxed. Thankfully my exams have now finished but that doesn't mean I can put my feet up with a tub of ice cream and a romcom box set, oh no! Coursework deadlines and my LCF university interview is looming- which I am extremely nervous about. Talking about university interviews, last week was mine at the University of Creative Arts in Epsom.I travelled up the night before and stayed with family relatives; didn't want to risk any delayed trains or perhaps even missing a train on the morning of. All evening I was reading, researching and making notes to ensure I was prepared for any questions that were thrown at me the next day.

On the morning of I was nervous and anxious- I think more about the unknown rather than the interview itself. I knew I was right for the course (fashion journalism) but I just needed to prove that to them. As I walked towards UCA I could spot my fellow interviewees instantly; one girl had a vintage black fur coat with striking red hair, another with a trilby and red leather trousers. We walked in one after another into the main reception area- the atmosphere was tense- and as I looked round at all the other hopefuls sat waiting a cloud of nerves descending upon me. I registered and took my seat. 

The time had arrived. We all rose from our seats and followed the interviewers out of the main reception, across the yard, through a door and through a hallway. At the end of the hallway was a woman, quite sincere looking, dressed in all black with an intimidating gaze; she was directing people into rooms opposite one another with a swish of a finger. I was pointed to the right. 

It was me and six others in the room; anxiously looking at one another. I wanted to laugh, talk or something to break the ice, break the tension, but nothing happened we all just sat there- waiting. The door suddenly swung open and an eccentric man dressed in a grey long belted wool (which he later told us was Armani), white brogues and rolled up bleached jeans. Never ever would one find any man dressed in such a way in Plymouth, but that is exactly why I need to leave. This man was my interviewer and one of the lecturers at UCA; his enthusiasm, knowledge and creativity was inspiring. I knew this was the environment I belonged in  with creative, opinionated, fashion focused people.

The interview itself was informal, more like a discussion. He made me feel so comfortable and relaxed- it was all very conversational. Questions such as: what's your favourite piece in your portfolio, and why? why do you want to work in the fashion industry? who's your favourite designer, current and of all time? what's your favourite magazine and why? These questions turned into discussions about many fashion related topics e.g. whether fur is acceptable, supersize models on the runway, the recession and whether cheaper really is better. I attempted to say as much as I could and ensured I talked about not just the clothes but the industry and contextual influences. Our interview ran on longer than the other group- probably because of our lengthy discussions- which meant our final task of writing a feature brief was rushed. I decided to focus on not just fashion but film, music and politics also. My brief was related to the release of 'The Iron Lady' and Margaret Thatcher's influence on not just politics but fashion; this lead me to discuss other fashion tribes and cultures within the 80s and their influences through music. 

Overall I feel it went well, but who knows how they perceived me or how I compared to other candidates. I know fashion journalism is what I am supposed to do, writing and fashion are two things I love and they consume my life. I long to be taught by people who have been or who are within the industry; be surrounded by focused  people who share my same fervent love for fashion. I suppose only time will tell. 
Fingers crossed.

MP.


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Celine: Pre A/W 12-13






Once again Celine sets a fine example of how simplistic tailoring and soft lines can create the most beautiful of collections. There are no gimmicks or embellishments; the collection uses blocks of colour framed within a curved silhouette and sumptuous fabrics creating wearable designs with a hint of androgyny.





Exotic prints, statement suits, evening wear pyjamas, peplum waves, classic cocoon coats and luxurious leather- it seems this key fabric is going to continue to be popular into the next icy season. This collection is so wearable for its classic key pieces and the success of the tailoring: fitted with still enough room to move and feel comfortable in these wonderful designs. Simplicity is continued throughout the accessories: oversize bags from clutches to shoppers, pointed courts with a flattering toe-cleavage and fur snoods. Winter chic at its best with still a glimpse of those relaxed summer silhouettes.

MP.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Twenties Takeover


I sat snuggled in my duvet, still in my pyjamas but hey, it was Christmas day. The time had come that as a 5 year old child would cause me to become completely hysterical with utter excitement, that would create that fervent twinkle in my eye, that would cause me to race downstairs with no care of how ridiculously early it was- yes, it was the time to open the presents. However, now I am- as my parents would say- a young adult this madness has decreased somewhat and my bed seemed far more appealing. Nevertheless I made it and there I was cocooned on the sofa awaiting my delightful gifts (all of which were from my incredibly precise list including the addition of store and price).
This may just be the cynic within me seething through but the magic of Christmas appears to be slowly but surely fizzing out.  I have come to the sour realisation that the fantasy of Santa, the angelic school plays and the fanatical giving of Christmas cards that you experience when you’re younger are perhaps the only entities that create the wonder of Christmas. Therefore, now as a ‘young adult’ this enchanted time has amounted to just an excuse to gorge myself with an excessive amount of food and drink, receive presents that none of which hold the element of surprise as you’ve reached that point where it’s not the thought that counts, and spend a whole 48 hours in your pyjamas without anyone batting an eyelid.
However, after opening most of the items on my list there was one small gift left unwrapped. As I am not one for surprises I was a little tentative when my Mother placed this next to me accompanied with the words “Merry Christmas”.  As I cautiously lifted each fold I spotted a flash of gold (no, it was not a ‘golden ticket’) but it was instead delicately painted pages; but, pages of what? I turned over the final fold of the commercially decorated paper and there lay a tiny vision of beauty: The Great Gatsby. In that moment the magic and childish excitement of Christmas had been reignited within me.
My love of the 20s is no secret: the elegance, the poise, and the allure of subtle androgyny I find so beautifully enticing. Classic literature is a guilty pleasure of mine so the combination of the two is of course provides the perfect gift. It was as if my Mother had read my mind as I had just recently heard the news of Baz Luhrmann’s reinvention of the classic (which is out in December) - he is an inspiration of mine and an incredibly talented man which makes this act of complete genius even more wonderful- and this present instantly made all of my initial enthusiasm resurface. The Great Gatsby is a beautiful tale and who else would be more appropriate to portray this classic than heart throb Leonardo DiCaprio and the delicately beautiful  Carey Mulligan, who took on the role of Marilyn Monroe last year . With this talented cast there is no doubt in my mind that it will be a completely tantalising success.
My year ended with a delightful injection of the 20s and it appears that 2012 will end in a similar way; but what about in between? Well, it looks as if this elegant era is influencing not only the world of film but also the world of fashion. Designers from Ralph Lauren to Roberto Cavalli and Alberta Ferretti graced the catwalks of SS12 with visions of 20s beauty from sequinned, feathered, flapper-inspired numbers to elusive, calf-length hemlines. So, come on ladies! Grab your cloche hats, wrap over coats and fringed frocks as it is official, twenty-twelve is seeing the revival of the 20s and in my opinion it is about time.

MP.

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